Army adopts Silicon Valley-made 3D infantry trainer


April 30, 2012 9:39:31 PM PDT
Today's soldiers have a new training tool to prepare them for the kinds of missions they have faced in Iraq and more recently in Afghanistan. It's the first ever 3D virtual reality infantry simulation and training system just adopted by the U.S. Army, and it was created in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Quantum3D's ExpeditionDI puts a high-defintion display inside a regulation helmet and a 20-pound computer pack on the solder's back (compared to the usual 70-pound ammo and grenade pack). A combination of Bluetooth and wi-fi technology lets the soldier experience an immersive environment where he has interact with members of the squad, search for explosives, and deal with enemy combatants.

"The generation going in now are video gamers," Quantum3D marketing director Pratish Shah said. "Many of them have played video games, so incorporating technology and capabilities they're familiar with is also an asset.for training that generation as well as modernize the military."

The San Jose-based company uses off-the-shelf Intel quad-core processors and an INVIDIA graphics cards similar to high-end consumer video game consoles, but the critical difference is the split-second, precision reaction time to enemies that can mean life or death in the real world.

"They're putting their mind into this, they're carrying heavy equipment, they're walking into an environment that they're not sure what's going to happen, so their heart rate races, they're sweating, they're moving around, they're talking, communicating; they're working as a team," Shah said

Arthur Yan, president and CEO of Quantum3D, says the goal is to save lives. Because of the wireless technology, an entire squad can train together and develop teamwork.