Facebook has bought up the Oculus Rift and, while we’ve already been exposed to some interesting uses for the virtual reality headset, the social network seems to have picked up the company just in time for its various uses to start exploding. Case in point is the Norwegian army, which is experimenting with using the Oculus Rift to provide an improved view for tank drivers, who typically have to make do with small ports or periscopes to see where they are going.
Instead of making tank drivers peer through hard-to-see holes in armour, Norway’s idea is to mount cameras with spherical lenses on the outside of the tank that are connected the the Oculus Rift headset. Instead of having a limited view, drivers are given a full view of the outside of the tank, as though the front, rear and sides weren’t there. And it seems that Oculus tech is far cheaper than any military technology that might do the same thing, always a consideration.
In an actual combat situation this setup would lead to improved situational awareness, though it is still possible that cameras could be knocked out or obscured, calling for more traditional driving methods. Even so, virtual reality tech is being used to make driving tanks safer – who’s to say that everyone from pilots to truck drivers won’t have a similar system on hand in the near future.
If you’d like to see the Norwegian VR tank in action (this is the kind without the mounted cannon), head over to TUTV for the video. Everything is in Norwegian but they’ve also provided English subtitles for the video.
Source: The Verge