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Glass Tanks Are Cool

Bottom Line Up Front: Army HoloLens2 goggles can be paired with 360 degree cameras to let soldiers inside the vehicle “see” their surroundings all around.

What if your armored vehicle had glass walls?

It would be invaluable to be able to see all the way around. That way you could spot threats, see if anyone was sneaking up to your vehicle, or whether it was safe to open the doors.

The US Army is doing something just like this by installing cameras all around armored vehicles, then connecting them to the enhanced-reality HoloLens 2 goggles that the soldiers wear to give Warfighters the ability to see a 360-degree view of the situation outside while remaining safely in the vehicle. It’s like having transparent walls!

Each Soldier with IVAS can “see through” the vehicle to what its external sensors are feeding into the individual HUDs, as if the vehicle has invisible armor. Soldiers with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team understood the implications to not only C2 situational awareness management and safety, but also overall lethality of the force.

Soldier-Centered Design

As revolutionary as invisible armor is, what is more important is how the Army is developing this technology.

In Ye Olden Days, crews of experts and engineers would spend years planning and developing the system in a vacuum, never once asking the opinion of the guy who was going to wear the thing. Then, once the thing was shipped, the soldiers would get their hands on it for the very first time. And most of the time, they found it to be useless.

In the new days of the Digital Transformation, something unprecedented is happening: Soldier-Centered Design!

The program is revolutionizing the way that acquisition requirements are generated. Though engineers and industry experts have always been dedicated to develop effective products to meet Soldier needs through requirements, best practices have now shown that requirements should be developed hand in hand with and by the end user.

Whereas before requirements were generated, in my opinion, inside of silos, we really need the Soldier’s feedback in order to generate a proper requirement that’s best for the Soldier, period,” said Braly. “It’s really important because we can’t build something that Soldiers are not going use. We have to get that feedback from Soldiers, listen to Soldiers, and implement that feedback. Then it becomes a better product for the Soldier, and they’re going to want to use it. If they don’t want to use it, they won’t, and it’s all for nothing.

What does it mean for me?

If you are a 3D or VR pro, a trainload of work is about to appear as an entirely new industry of Army extended-reality applications materializes.

If you are a 3D or VR company, the same thing I said just now.

Also, the Army knows they haven’t thought of everything. Glass armor is cool, but they know folks out there are having super cool ideas. If you have one, head to the HoloLens 2 main office and give them a holler. The soldiers will thank you.