By Michelle Milliner, ARL Public Affairs

Team-Orlando-ARL-UCF-SigningThe U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) Human Research and Engineering Directorate and the University of Central Florida (UCF) held a signing ceremony on Aug. 20 for a new cooperative agreement for the development of a Soldier Perception Laboratory at the Simulation and Training Technology Center in Orlando. The agreement has a ceiling cost of approximately $22 million over five years.

The intent of the Soldier Perception Laboratory is to create a test bed for developing the theoretical scientific underpinnings for Virtual, Constructive, Gaming and Augmented Reality (V-C-G-AR) basic research and emerging concepts. These concepts will be investigated under rigorous, transparent and replicable testing to develop theories and prototypes to meet the Army’s Force 2025 vision.

ARL and UCF see mutual benefit from collaboration under the ARL Open Campus theme for working on emerging concepts of Virtual, Constructive, Gaming and Augmented Reality. The focus of this joint agreement is to collaborate for discovery and innovation towards the Synthetic Training Environment vision of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation.

ARL chose to work jointly on the test bed with UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) as it is one of the nation’s leading research centers in the areas of simulation, training, modeling, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality research for both defense and commercial applications. UCF-IST is helping define the future of military simulation and training in its laboratories at its three Central Florida Research Park locations.

The objectives for the joint research are:

• Establish a collaborative laboratory environment to support discovery and innovative modeling, simulation & training research for Force 2025 and the Synthetic Training Environment

• Facilitate and demonstrate technology transfer across U.S. Army programs and throughout the simulation technology community

• Provide an environment that encourages discovery and innovation in simulation technology from basic to advanced research in the areas of Virtual, Constructive, Gaming and Augmented Reality

• Develop and enhance the modeling and simulation technology technical knowledge, skills and abilities of ARL and UCF personnel and students

Neal Finkelstein, Ph.D., ARL Branch Chief for Blended Simulation Research said, “I believe in the next five years and on the path to Force 2025 that this partnership will advance modeling and simulation technology toward our three common goals: (1) To decrease the amount of time required for Soldiers to execute training; (2) To increase opportunities to execute complex training to larger audiences; and (3) To demonstrate quantifiably that an increase in physical, mental and emotional immersion can reduce costs, including overhead and develop significant increases in capabilities as the Army evolves towards the synthetic training environment.”