General Dynamics Focuses on Fire Fighting VR Application

Last year at I/ITSEC, General Dynamic was just starting to develop a VR application to help with fire fighter training, especially in military and commercial applications. This year, they showed the progress they have made.

Over the year, the team has been working on adding a number of features and modules to the simulation and trying to understand how these additional features may or may not affect the Havok game engine performance.

The basic engine features a building that you can walk around using controllers and discover where the fire is located. It uses an Oculus Rift HMD with headphones. Users can use the controller to water down the fire and learn the correct techniques for putting it out and not making the fire worse. The fidelity of the graphics is not particularly good, but the company says the reaction of the fire to the water application works pretty faithfully.

They have also added a haptic-based fire hose that trainees can use as well. This controls the water flow and provides real push back from the water pressure – up to 180 pounds of force, we were told. That’s why the guys in the photo are leaning in – to counteract the virtual hose pressure.

General Dynamic os also developing other tools including radiation detectors for nuclear plant fires and more, to continue to increase the training utility. They have some way to go, but so far so good.