Due to the increasing number of terrorist-related attacks, researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have developed a new training method using virtual and augmented reality to better prepare police, first responders, and air workers called AUGGMED.
Historically, training for counter-terrorism assignments has been neither standardized nor readily available. Instead, training includes real-world scenarios and classroom exercises.
However, researchers from Sheffield Hallam University, UK have developed a virtual reality-based training method which they hope can prepare police and aid workers for stressful situations.
Their project is called AUGGMED (Automated Serious Game Scenario Generator for Mixed Reality Training). It’s an online multi-user training platform.
The platform makes use of both virtual reality and augmented reality. This means that police, first responders and aid workers can undergo training within virtual reconstructions of the real world.
Augmented reality is also used and allows trainees to see and interact with virtual civilians and terrorists within the real world. The idea is that both technologies will help improve decision making as well as give trainees experience of staying focused during such intense situations.
AUGGMED Training for Police, First Responders, Paramedics
To develop the platform, the researchers looked into the use of “serious games“. They worked with law enforcement agencies and United Nations organizations to do this.
From this research, they could successfully apply these simulations to training. Their work has also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
AUGGMED is already in use, for example, by British police officers for critical incident response training and security officers with the Piraeus Port Authority in Greece for potential terrorist-related threats.
Interestingly, the platform also enables training with multiple agencies at the same time. This means, collaborative training between the police force, security personnel and paramedics is possible.
Finally, it may be the case that VR training methods become available to police forces worldwide due to the fact that they’re a cost-effective and a rapid training solution.
Jonathan Saunders, Research Fellow (Lead Games Developer) at Sheffield Hallam University certainly thinks so. He explains:
“In the future, the use of modern technologies to improve and augment existing practices will become commonplace… Serious games and virtual reality will one day be ubiquitous within training packages. But before then, the benefits of these technologies need to be explored and discussed further, because they hold remarkable potential.”