Case studies — Augmented reality (AR)
The «War game» project is a joint solution developed by EligoVision and JSC Russian Space Systems. It’s an innovative virtual tactical 3D simulator of military operations.
This project is currently going through the third stage of development. The first stage was completed and demonstrated for the first time at a major air show in Dubai, in November 2009, the second – in 2010.
The main goal of the first stage was to implement a feature which would allow arranging military equipment manually and working with it with the help of algorithms used by the army.
The «War game» project is a prototype of a situational centre for conducting and analyzing combat operations. This interactive system for simulating combat operations on virtual training areas has two main advantages. The first is substantial cost savings; the second one is saving human resource and time. This system allows very precise modeling of what can happen on a real landscape.
The project software is a 3D simulator of military operations. It was created specifically for modeling military tactical exercises in the glasses-free stereo mode. These exercises allow training combat planning and delivery skills.
The application includes
- basic algorithms of virtual combat delivery;
- interactivity with the 3D application on the motor function level;
- stereoscopic mode of visualization;
- practicing tactics of using different weapons on a close-to-reality model of a battleground;
- possibility to observe combat operations from above;
- possibility to create any landscape in full detail;
- different maps;
- nonlinear tactical scenarios;
- possibility to train combat operation planning, delivery and coordination skills;
- detailed dynamic 3D models of tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers, anti-tank warfare and other kinds of weaponry.
After arranging virtual military equipment on a model set users can observe combat operations with the help of a mobile surveillance camera. The virtual camera moves along special trajectories over the training area. It displays every action on a glasses-free 3D monitor. The camera moves from one combat unit to another at a specific interval over the whole area. It fixates on a combat unit that is still active, i.e. moves, aims at the enemy, shoots and so on.
Since the combat simulation takes place in real time, combat units constantly go out of service, and the camera does not count them in its trajectory.
You can also control the camera manually. Thereby operators can manage the camera themselves and move over the battleground in any direction they choose.
Basic military equipment, which is presented in the project’s current stage, includes tanks, launchers and helicopters.
The software algorithm includes physics of combat unit movements on a virtual terrain. It automatically adjusts the virtual object movements depending on the surface, including steppe, sand, asphalt, mountains, etc. In order to make the interactive application usage more clear, we added visual designation of a unit’s life resource, different movement rates. There is also a pan/zoom feature that helps to arrange equipment with extra precision.
Every combat unit is aimed at a specific target. In most cases it is a mobile target. Information about all movements is collected in real time, and a unit follows the trajectory that is constantly changing depending on the target’s movements. Accordingly, while programming the system we used every possible divergence and probability, particularly movement on a raised grid taking into account angles and inclination, obstacle avoidance, etc. This allowed us to optimize combat units’ movement in order to perform the combat task in the most effective way.
The project hardware is an interactive visual solution, which includes
- interactive «living 3D markers» system
- graphics workstation equipped with a professional video card such as NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800
- autostereoscopic Philips WOWvx display (42').
For this project we created a new system of interactive markers which work in the infrared range. This in its turn allows using this solution on real model sets projecting terrains directly on a model set.
Every marker related to a combat unit has its own barcode which allows it to be recognized. This was the basis of the interaction technology.
The system was demonstrated at the JSC Russian Space Systems’ booth on the glasses free autostereoscopic Philips 3D display.