By Mrs. Michelle Milliner (ARL HRED STTC)April 30, 2013
Orlando, Fla. -- The U.S. Army's Research Laboratory's, Human Research Engineering Directorate, Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) proudly announced the winners of the 2013 Federal Virtual Challenge at the Defense Users' GameTech Conference in Orlando, Fla. on April 18.
The challenge featured two distinct focus areas for entries. The first category focused on exploration of how to train critical thinking and/or adaptability skills in an immersive environment, and measure learners' progress.
The winner of the critical thinking and/or adaptability focus area and ten thousand dollars was Virtual World Activities -- "Compound" from Alice Hayden of H2IT Solutions, Inc. and Dr. Filomeno Arenas of the U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer College. Compound is a virtual team building game developed for the Air University's Squadron Officer College, Virtual World Activities. Students learn how to lead a team, how to best delegate and communicate tasks and how to work together to analyze and adapt to the situation; making decisions to accomplish a mission. Trainees must be able to communicate effectively with one another and to their Navigator who is the only person with access to the map showing the location of mines. This entry demonstrated both critical thinking and adaptability requiring the learner to reflect, update and work through complex trials.
The game provided a unique team activity that was suspenseful, motivating and challenging while providing a sense of real immersion.
Outbreak: Immersive, Interactive Problem Solving from Tech Wizards, Inc. took home the second place spot with five thousand dollars and in third place; winning three thousand dollar was Data Detectives by Dr. Kay McLennan, Tulane University and MOSES Developer/Liaison.
Navigation comprised the second focus area and required entries to examine how to improve user interfaces in virtual environments, specifically for individual and group navigation.
The winner of the navigation focus area and ten thousand dollars was VIPE Holodeck -- Navigation Interface by Ryan Frost of the Virtual Immersive Training Team at Northrup Grumman Technical Services. VIPE Holodeck explores the use of the low cost, commercial of the shelf motion capture system. The result is a method for the user to easily move through a virtual environment that feels natural and is easy to learn and adapt to. This entry provided navigation strategies that support a first-person shooter type environment. The user is able to duck, jump, dodge, run, and stop with impressive response time. Users were out of breath and fully engaged in the activity, completely forgetting the interface.
Second place and five thousand dollars was awarded to Analyst Situation Room by Robert Daniel and finally the third place spot and three thousand dollars was secured by Immersive Collaboration -- Three Wire Systems by Anthony Castaneda.
All finalists were provided travel accommodations to demonstrate their entries at the 2013 Defense GameTech User's Conference 17 April -- 19 April. The annual event is led by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Simulation and Training Technology Center. For more information on the FVC and to see this year's winners visit www.fvc.army.mil.