Teachers use it to teach lessons. Football players study their plays on it. Now Soldiers can use the tablet computer as a one-stop device for training refreshers, an easy-to-carry installation manual, and more.
“On one small mobile device, a warfighter has a full library of information to support a device or even to support the operation of a full vehicle. If a warfighter is carrying a mobile device, the weight of his or her backpack is significantly less,” said COL Raymond Compton, Military Deputy, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), Edgewood, MD.
In addition to being cost-effective, the 21st-century advancements in technology, coupled with a desire to equip the warfighter with a single source for everything he or she needs, make the use of iPad applications increasingly necessary. ECBC’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division (ADM) Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch, Technology and Systems Integration Branch, and Engineering Drawing Development Branch partnered to create two iPad applications. One simulates the Husky Mounted Detection System Surrogate (HMDSS), and the other re-creates the Mobile Counter Improvised Explosive Device Training (MCIT).
Both iPad applications were handed over to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). The MCIT and HMDSS are devices in CONUS that are intended for direct Soldier use.
“The Technology and Systems Integration Branch contributed to functional translation of real-world data into the virtual environment; Engineering Drawing helped with the virtual modeling; and Conceptual Modeling and Animation assisted with the software development and user interface,” said Kevin Wallace, Technology and Systems Integration Branch Chief. “The great thing about the Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch is that they have the ability to help other branches present their visions and further the potential of their ideas.”
With the tap of a screen, warfighters can reference the full HMDSS installation manual and train themselves on the equipment. Users can practice reading the Ground Penetrating Radar, which detects metallic and nonmetallic explosive hazards, pressure plates, and antitank mines.
In HMDSS, the user simulates driving a vehicle and receiving alerts of potential threats. From there, the driver must determine a course of action to ensure safety. All simulations are based on events that could actually happen. Additionally, the HMDSS application allows the user to go on virtual route clearance missions and includes a full user manual for the vehicle.
While the HMDSS application has all of the same functions as the vehicle and provides a detailed model of it, Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch Chief Jeff Warwick said the iPad application is best used to refresh actual in-person training, not replace it.
“Maybe it’s been a few months between the in-person training, and a warfighter is about to operate the HMDSS vehicle again and needs a quick reminder. Rather than getting in an actual vehicle that may not be available for practice, the warfighter can pick up a simple device and train from wherever he is,” Warwick said.
This application simulates an MCIT, which is a series of four modified 40-foot Conex boxes set up in a series to educate warfighters on IEDs. Each station gives tips on how to identify IEDs, in addition to hands-on scenario training that uses narratives and role-playing to guide the warfighter from station to station. The entire system is interactive and equipped to give warfighters hands-on, self-paced training. Re-creating the MCIT with all of its capabilities on an iPad has paved the way for a more cost-effective approach to training.
In addition to being a cheaper and more convenient option for frequent training, Compton said mobile applications can bridge the gap between younger warfighters who grew up in an electronic world and their older counterparts.
“The Soldiers of today were raised playing with video games and virtual equipment like Xbox and iPads. Those games can be translated into a lot of useful methods for training,” he said. “It’s beneficial to take advantage of this type of intuitive knowledge the young warfighter has and capitalize that knowledge into training to help them do their mission better.”
ECBC is working to design more tablet applications that enhance the warfighter’s training experiences and make their jobs more efficient.
From ECBC Public Affairs.