The Marine Corps is on track to bring the next generation in augmented reality training technology to the field.
The Augmented Immersive Team Trainer system — which superimposes life-like virtual objects onto a real environment — will undergo assessment this month at the Infantry Officer Course aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
The AITT system, which Marines at IOC tested out for the first time in early August as part of live-fire training exercises, consists of a laptop, software, battery pack and a helmet-mounted display.
It gives an infantryman a simulation of battlefield effects "in the outdoor environment … without having to use live munitions or having live aircraft," said ONR program manager Dr. Peter Squire.
"It allows you capability to train basically anywhere, and you don't have to be fixed to a specific schoolhouse or building," Squires said.
The system also does not allow for dynamic tracking, which means that mounted vehicular training is not yet an option.
Squires said most people think of augmented reality in terms of Atari-like graphics, but he knows the AITT system is successful when he sees Marines whip their heads around to look for the virtual inserts in the real world.
"I'm just amazed every time I see some of the effects, particularly for aircraft platforms and some of the munitions that go down, how realistic they are," he said. "It's pretty mind-boggling."