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Haptics-enhanced Augmented Reality Training System for Care Under Fire

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems, 

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this SBIR is to develop an Augmented Reality (AR) training system that trains Care Under Fire concepts. Combat Medic and Combat Lifesaver trainees do not currently have the capability to train how to move from a “Soldier First” context and engage an enemy, to providing injury care, and potentially back to engaging the enemy, in a virtual world. While haptics capabilities have been integrated to a small scale with virtual reality training devices, they have not been integrated in an AR environment, which provides much more realism for some tasks requiring weighted objects (e.g., wounded soldier). The purpose of this effort is on the haptics capability, and not the development of a combat casualty care simulation. 

DESCRIPTION: Current Care Under Fire training does not allow for effective transition from a Soldier First context to a caregiver context, and back again. Integrating haptics capabilities into an AR training system will allow trainees to participate in both contexts with much more realism than allowed by mock rifles. We are seeking a haptics-enabled AR system that provides virtual representations of some entities (e.g., enemy avatars), real-world entities where appropriate (e.g., weighted patient simulators), and augmented representations of other entities (e.g., bleeding wounds on patient simulators, devices in a real-world medic bag). 

PHASE I: Phase I should include a detailed study of historical Care Under Fire situations and developing a flow of how to move a trainee through a “crawl-walk-run” training evolution. With this flow, the offeror should consider how and where to insert Virtual, Augmented, and if necessary Mixed Reality training systems. Considerations of where haptics technology should be inserted, and why, should be noted (e.g., clearing a weapons misfire, feeling for a devices inside a medic bag while visually scanning for enemies). The end result of Phase I should thus focus on two areas. The first area explores the Care Under Fire phase of Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and explains the important training elements. A flow moving a trainee from a simple evolution (e.g., no enemy action), to a more complex evolution (e.g., initial enemy action requiring the trainee to engage the enemy prior to caring for the injured) to the most complex evolution (e.g., initial engagement coupled with a weapon misfire, caring for the injured, and follow-on enemy action causing the trainee to set aside patient care to engage the enemy). The second area will explore haptics capability and its relevancy to the Care Under Fire training scenarios, with a description of how haptics can and should be integrated with virtual and/or augmented reality. At the end of Phase I, offerors must present an estimate of the per-unit cost at the end of the first year, and end of the second year, of Phase II, should they be slected. A simple feasibility demonstration should occur late in Phase I. This may take place at the developer’s facility. Phase I should finalize with a working plan to mature these areas into a training system to be developed in Phase II. Included should be plans for how to obtain, procure, or reuse a virtual simulation – whether organic to the offeror, purchased from or subcontracted to another firm, or via government furnished information/property. 

PHASE II: Phase II will result in a training system developed on the concepts explored in Phase I. Initial usability testing should be performed with relevant users (e.g., at a military training center). Based on enhancements from usability tests, a training effectiveness evaluation should be performed with military trainees (e.g., Army Medical Simulation Training Center, National Guard training site, equivalent Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps training site teaching Care Under Fire principles). Phase II should result in a working prototype training system and a final report that covers both training aspect considerations and technical considerations. At the end of both years of Phase II, offerors must present the government with updated estimates of per-unit cost. A deliverable of Phase II should be a technical data package listing all software and hardware, both commercial off-the-shelf and custom-developed, that comprise the final system. Licenses to allow for system usage for no less than one year after end of contract are also required in order to continue demonstration to potential transition partners. Finally, a users’ guide and training manual should accompany the final delivery to allow for instructors to use the system. 

PHASE III: The initial use for this technology will be to train military medical first responders who are trained as Warfighters first, Caregivers second. In much the same way, many local, state, and federal law enforcement officials (LEOs) are being trained to provide limited lifesaving skills (e.g., tourniquet application) during active shooter and similar events. A Phase III dual-use application would create a similar training system to support non-military LEOs in a tactical situation. As protocols differs from LEO and military, and even from one LEO entity to another, care should be taken to consider protocols during Phase III. 

REFERENCES: 

1: Ali, N. S., & Nasser, M. (2017). "Review of virtual reality trends (previous, current, and future directions), and their applications, technologies and technical issues" J Eng Appl Sci, 12, 783-789.

KEYWORDS: Medical Modeling And Simulation, Care Under Fire Training, Haptics, Augmented Reality 

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