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The Military Displays

Norway Is Gamifying Warfare By Driving Tanks With Oculus Rift 106

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-killing-through-technology dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Look at Norway, where the Army has started using Oculus Rift to drive tanks with increased visibility, according to the Norwegian TV station tu.no. Four VR cameras are mounted on the sides of the tank to give the soldier inside donning the headset a full 360 degree view of what's going on outside, like X-ray vision. Using cameras to 'see through' a vehicle isn't a new concept; when the hatches are down tanks are notoriously hard to navigate. But the Oculus Rift dev kit is just a fraction of the price of traditional 360-degree camera equipment: Lockheed Martin's F-35 helmet for pilots can cost tens of thousands of dollars."
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Norway Is Gamifying Warfare By Driving Tanks With Oculus Rift

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  • F-35 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The latency / integration requirements for the F - 35 are probably a lot more sophisticated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by binarylarry (1338699)

      Yeah it's like "My bike helmet looks like something astronauts wear and it protects my head! Why isn't NASA buying these instead of those expensive space helments?"

      • Re:F-35 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Splab (574204) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:24AM (#46927335)

        I get that it is a silly comparison, but what's with the negative vibes?

        These guys have come up with a nifty solution to an expensive problem and they are using some awesome geek gear to do so.

        • The tank solution is cool. Suggesting that this could work for something like a jet fighter is hilarious.

        • by nospam007 (722110) *

          "I get that it is a silly comparison, but what's with the negative vibes?"

          FaceBook supports War is what came to my mind.

          Hopefully the tank driver won't get some ads blended in when he' s trying to survive.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Possibly so. But more likely, Oculus Rift set their prices so that customers can afford it. Lockheed Martin set their prices so that government can proclaim their taxpayers must afford it. Big difference.

      • Re:F-35 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:41AM (#46927447)

        There's that, and the F-35 helmets do far more than just a visual display. They're engineered to keep the pilot's noggin safe(OR is not), they keep the pilot oxygenated in high G turns(OR does not), and it's highly integrated with the F35's avionics(OR is not).

        There are good reasons a pilot's helmet costs more than a thousand $$$.

        • If I remember right, like the F-22 helmet it's actually radar stealthed as well. A 'big' dome is a good target for radar and the canopy is at least somewhat transparent to radar.

    • Maybe the F35 flies faster than a tank and needs a stricter latency.

    • The latency / integration requirements for the F - 35 are probably a lot more sophisticated.

      More likely that the NRE is spread across far fewer units.

      • There are well over 4,000 F-35s forecast to be purchased by various countries around the world, with the bulk being purchased by the US - which means that there are probably going to be 20 - 30,000 of these helmets purchased during its lifetime.

        • by rossdee (243626)

          "There are well over 4,000 F-35s forecast to be purchased by various countries around the world"

          However other countries (besides the USA) don't have the same "never mind the financial crisis, we can't cut defense spending" attitude.
          You'll probably find those orders cut back as the price goes up.

          • Defense spending is a tiny, tiny fraction of the US budget.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I hope you're being sarcastic....http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    • By the time the Occulus has been made combat ready, hardened, with a beefed up resolution necessary for such work, it will probably cost upward of $10k per unit as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:19AM (#46927301)

    It refers to turning something that would otherwise be uninteresting into a game in order to make it more interesting for participants.

    • ...Or at least adding game-like elements, like scorekeeping or achievements.

      But you're right that this isn't gamification because it does not add any elements of gaming to the activity. It's a digital head-mounted display system for a tank, like the one in the F35. If there were an attack helicopter controlled with a dual-analog gamepad, that wouldn't be gamification either.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Maybe the Occulus setup in these tanks makes score numbers fly out of people's corpses when you gun them down and if you get multi kills throws up text like "RAMPAGE", and "KILLING SPREE" in the middle of the display?

      • Achievement Unlocked! 5 Kills with a single Shell!
        • by Xest (935314)

          I think this needs further investigation. I bet I could easily find funding for a paper entitled "Does gamifying war make soldiers better, more efficient killers?".

          • You're not familiar with practical shooting sports. Yes, gamifying it makes some people more efficient killers.

            Without gamifying, people take killing to seriously. They just learn what they are taught, and worry about screwing up.

            When we made practical shooting a game, people looked for ways to win, and we invented CQB.

    • Thank you.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:30AM (#46927383) Journal
    "Gamify" is such an ugly neologism, even in the situations it was coined to cover (ie. the ones where a non-game task is dressed up in game-style features by some means), that it really should be taken out and shot. In this case, they aren't even 'gamifying'. They're just experimenting with COTS gear as a, presumably cheaper, presentation system for the stitched-together output of the exterior cameras. That doesn't make the situation somehow more game-like.
  • The first thing that I thought of when reading the article was the scifi novel "A Boy And His Tank" (Leo Frankowski), or maybe a slight echo of the ending of "Ender's Game" (In short, both follow the plot idea of "Yeah kid, this is a neat game. Blow them up!! Great job. Next battle, um, simulation, is tomorrow."

    Let's see... computer simulated fighter combat (drones), computer simulated tactical combat (robo-soliders), computer simulated tank combat... Meanwhile Iran hacks drone into following its orders

  • Why is the soldier inside? Shouldn't he be FAR FAR AWAY?!
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @09:02AM (#46927609) Homepage

    Four VR cameras are mounted on the sides of the tank to give the soldier inside donning the headset a full 360 degree view of what's going on outside, like X-ray vision.

    Or like a window.

  • Is low toy grade. Its amazing! We have found out that the toy grade playthings are actually CHEAPER than the mil spec EMP safe water/dirt/shock/static hardened military counterpart!!!

    • by Terrasque (796014)

      Considering the fallback is to drive it just the way it's done every day today, I don't see that as the biggest problem.

      • by kyrsjo (2420192)

        And that it's a prototype. It doesn't make much sense to build the hardened version before you've tested that the concept works.

  • Driver: Why did I suddenly get a bunch of ads for funeral services and life insurance? FFFFFUUUUUU
    *ARTILLERY STRIKE*

  • TU != TV Station (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @09:47AM (#46927969)

    TU or Teknisk Ukeblad is litterly Technical Week Magazine, a 150+ year old magazine owned by three engineer unions and distributed to their members and other subscribers. As most news outlets, they have a web page with a video section with video extending their written articles. They are not a TV Station.

  • I wouldn't want it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by portwojc (201398) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @09:58AM (#46928095) Homepage

    As a former M1A1 tank driver I would not want this system at all. I don't need something extra that can go wrong and leave me blind at the wrong time. Imagine yanking all that crap off just to be able to see again. Give it to the commander and let him play with the toy but he'll set it aside I'm sure.

    Tanks are not all that hard to navigate. Plus you're not suppose to get tanks into positions where you have those sorts of problems. If you do then you have the rest of your platoon to help be your eyes. As well as "scratch your back" if you need it.

    • I presume it's a precursor to setting the driver back a few paces from the tank.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes but the M1A1 is different than the Leopard 2 where the driver and commander use the same view. With that said, sometimes it has to be tested before it can be classified as a waste of time. The difference could be that the driver has better situational awareness and able to position himself better or see a combatant with an RPG about to fire on him. I could see a lot of benefits in urban combat situations, not as many in open field.

    • As a former M1A1 tank driver...Give it to the commander and let him play with the toy...

      As a former M1A2 tank commander, I resent your request you insensitive clod!

      • by portwojc (201398)

        Then let's give it to the company commander instead. He needs something to keep him occupied so we can get the job done.

    • Unless you've tried it, how can you judge it?

  • srsly, who even allows such headlines through?

    • srsly, who even allows such headlines through?

      Those who are so lazy that they cannot be bothered to even fully type out the word 'seriously'.

      Those people are almost always directly responsible for headline tragedies such as this/

  • They should just solve all wars and conflicts with Dance Dance Revolution. I've been saying it for years. That or Starcraft II if it's a korean conflict.
  • It's a bit more like "warifying gamefare"
  • Just what you don't want in the heat of battle: friend requests from Zuck

  • In this day and age, who on earth would want to be a soldier in a tank?

    The number of weapons available that can kill you in a very nasty manner with almost no chance of survival is so high that you would have to be suicidal to volunteer for tank duties.

    Tanks are vulnerable.

  • It's not gamification until the tank crew scores points by doing their job.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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