Computer-based training is now moving away from simple text and video and into a new world of virtual and augmented reality.
One of the key benefits of newer and faster computer components is the ability to model objects in three dimensions. Though older computers can handle the limited three-dimensional views from programs like Minecraft, for virtual reality, a person needs a fast computer that can model and move images quickly in real time.
Virtual vs. Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) technology allows various immersive experiences predicated on visual information. It can be a useful adjunct in education and sometimes in training. However, the experience is only as good as the simulated environment and the equipment used to build that environment. Virtual reality depends on projecting images and audio in such a manner that actual reality is replaced by the virtual one.
Augmented reality (AR) differs from virtual reality in that it alters a user’s perception of the real world. In other words, it is a combination of the virtual and real world, with both real-world and virtual objects being accurately modeled and represented and real-time interaction with the environment enhanced by changes in both the real and virtual worlds. Not only can AR provide movement and changes to your real environment but it can provide additional sensory input like vibrations, sound and even aromas.
How It Can Be Used in Firearms Training
Suppose you go to a class on home defense. The class is held in a classroom, and you watch videos of home invasions, using the experience to help you build a home security plan. This is useful, but it may or may not be relevant to your situation. If you want a more immersive experience, perhaps you go to one of the locations where there are “shoot houses” and work through room clearing in real-time, with live ammunition and a series of paper targets. Again, you get the immersive experience of moving through the shoot house, but not the experience of moving through your house and using your security plan.
Augmented reality, sometimes called mediated reality, will allow you to model your own living room, dining room, front and back doors. Then you can build home-invasion scenarios using those real-world objects accurately depicted.
Imagine sitting in your favorite chair. It’s 7:30 p.m. You have your evening cup of coffee on the table next to you, and you smell that pleasant aroma. You’re about to take a sip of that delicious brew when someone starts kicking your front door. You hear wood cracking and retrieve your firearm from your fast-action gun safe. When the door comes swinging open, you engage.
This is what augmented reality will allow. An immersive experience in an environment of your choosing and under conditions you set down.
The benefits of such training are obvious. What if the attack comes at the back door? What if it comes at both doors? What if the attacker takes a child as hostage? Augmented reality will allow training that is both immersive and peculiarly relevant to your individual situation. While virtual reality might be fine for gaming, training to protect your life and the lives of your loved ones is no game. Augmented reality training will allow you to tailor your training to your life and your environment.