A student, attending the Burlington County Institute of Technology Medford public school, uses Navy Recruiting Command's virtual reality asset, the Nimitz, during the Philadelphia Swarm. A Swarm event is a large-scale recruiting effort run by the nation's top Navy recruiters to saturate a specified market with Navy outreach, information and recruiting assets Dec. 11, 2019 (Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Diana Quinlan)

MEDFORD — The Navy does more than drive boats, but recruiters say students won't just learn that from reading a brochure nowadays.

The Nimitz, a virtual reality-filled tractor trailer used by recruiters, made its way to Burlington County Institute of Technology's Medford campus Wednesday, putting teenagers at the wheel of a boat through simulations of missions.

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Shane Reynolds, UCF Research Associate demonstrates an AR/VR system to train soldiers and Marines on how to improve their ability to detect improvised explosive devices. (Orlando Sentinel/Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda)

As UCF research associate Shane Reynolds guides his avatar over a virtual minefield using his iPad, small beeps and whistles reveal the location of the scourge of the modern war zone: Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. He must take his time to sweep every last inch of the playing field to make sure his character doesn't miss any of the often-deadly bombs.

Despite his slow pace, Reynolds makes a small misstep and with a kaboom! a bomb blows up his player, graphically scattering body parts.

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Army photo

Imagine the first time you’re dropped in a hot zone is the first time your boots have really hit the ground. Your pulse is racing, there’s gunfire coming from in every direction, and you have seconds decide what to do and where to go. Sure, you’ve done some time in pre-deployment training, but most of your time was spent in the barracks, conceptualizing war using two-dimensional models. Nothing has really prepared you for this — but the Army is going to change that.

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U.S.Navy/John F. Williams

The debate about whether or not video games improve your cognitive abilities is over. It turns out they can make you quicker and more decisive. And as a result, the military has begun testing and using virtual reality programs to train soldiers. And while you may think that video games or simulations don’t compare to actual field training, experts within the military community suggest that you’d be wrong.

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