BAE has announced a partnership with the University of Birmingham with the goal of developing augmented reality systems. The new “augmented reality systems could revolutionize complex emergency response and military battlefield operations, by drastically improving the situational awareness, decision-making and asset management of operators”, as BAE stated in its press release.
The company also released a movie showing what it wants to achieve.
BAE expects that this development will enable portable command centers and wearable cockpit.
The company says “the Portable Command Centre concept uses commercial technology to create a semi-virtual environment that can be transported in a briefcase and set up anywhere from within a tent to an office to tackle emergency scenarios such as an outbreak of fire or an act of terrorism. Users put on a virtual reality headset and interactive gloves – and a mixed reality control station appears around them. Users can monitor situations anywhere in the world, zooming in and manipulating environments, directing troops and pulling in virtual video screens that allow them to monitor news channels and feeds from UAVs”.
BAE continues, “The Virtual Cockpit is created by a headset that provides infinitely reconfigurable virtual displays and controls, allowing pilots to customize their interface with the aircraft based on their own preferences, mission objectives and the task immediately at hand”.
Overall, this describes the use of augmented reality technology for specific applications. The video itself hints more at the concept than specific hardware. The press release states that this will be brought to life by “Oculus Rift” style headsets, even though some of the images hint more at an augmented reality style with transparent lenses.
This announcement is showing another application with a strong value proposition and no expected social backlash. These kind of applications have right now the best chance of being implemented and are preparing the ground for future consumer-oriented devices. – NH