Baku, May 12, AZERTAC
Britain could be set to take a major step forward in terms of futuristic defence capabilities thanks to new designs revealed by one of the UK’s largest engineering firms.
Technology being developed by BAE Systems and the University of Birmingham could mean that in future, generals are able to direct their forces using ‘mixed reality’ Oculus Rift-powered headsets that blends together sources of information beamed in from hundreds of miles away.
They will also be able to pilot drones carrying missiles and survey vast sways of territory using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and Augmented Reality (AR) displays, with the technology possibly available within the next five years. “We’re already seeing virtual and augmented reality becoming more commonplace in consumer products, and the possibilities it offers the armed forces are hugely exciting,” said Nick Colosimo, futurist at BAE Systems.
BAE say that operations will be able to be set up using a mobile command centre the size of a briefcase, which then links to an Oculus Rift style headset and can even supply computer-generated advisers to suggest tactical advice.
A prototype has already been built by the company, which says such technology could be in place by 2020. It has already been used to create a ‘wearable cockpit’ device (pictured right) that sees augmented images replace physical images and controls in combat aircraft, which could be in use within a decade.
Looking further ahead, BAE believes that the headsets could be replaced within 20 years by contact lenses that would project the 3D images and information screens directly in front of their eyes.
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