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Virtual Training

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The Euronaval show in Paris this week is not one where one expects to see demonstrations of people wearing strange electronic gadgets and sensors. That is usually reserved for homeland security shows such as Milipol or air-land shows such as Eurosatory. So the gentleman wearing futuristic looking oversized ski goggles (in fact, a head mounted display), with black straps around his forearms and upper arms, his legs similarly bound and with a harness around his torso is drawing quite a bit of attention on the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems stand.

Johannes Schlenger, for that is his name, is the software developer for this strange get-up known as a Motion Capturing Suit, that is part of ViSTIS (Virtual Ship Training and Information System) which is a flight deck officer simulator. The company claims the simulator could save a navy $10,000 per year for every flight deck officer trained given that no ship and no helicopter is necessary, and that training can be undertaken at any time and with no weather-related constraints.

So how does it work? The trainee is equipped with the suit and the head-mounted display and s/he then appears on the computer screen as if on a flight deck. The trainee's movements and gestures are translated to the virtual flight deck officer character in the simulator while the instructor configures and manipulates the training session via a touchscreen and mouse. The virtual helicopter responds to the trainee's instructions.

As Schlenger told Ares, ViSTIS also enables highly realistic training for emergency situations.

Johannes Schlenger demonstrating ViSTIS. Photo: Christina Mackenzie

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