2016 - Present
Project Leader: Peter Khooshabeh

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TALK-ON (Team Assessment and Learner Knowledge Observational Network) is a mixed reality test bed designed to explore questions of simulation fidelity, assessment, and feasibility involved in using consumer virtual reality technologies for armored vehicle leadership training.

The TALK-ON prototype is focused on cognitive and communication skills training of novice tank platoon leaders, who must accurately assess tactical situations, make quick decisions, and communicate effectively with the tank crew, other tanks within and across platoons, and higher command.

The VR simulation positions the trainee in the seat of a TC, directly in front of the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV ) controls, as well as a topographic tactical map below the CITV. The trainee’s point of view is a close approximation of what a TC would see in an actual tank and the CCTT, including virtual, animated crewmembers. The TC can issue and receive voice commands via three separate radio channels (Crew, Platoon, and Company), and the communication can be implemented either via a combination of joystick buttons and a USB microphone or a purpose-built helmet switch and control junction box (JBOX) designed and 3D printed to replicate actual equipment. The trainee can also control the thermal and tactical views in the CITV panels in front of him via a joystick. Lastly, the TC trainee has the ability to survey the terrain around his tank by standing up and looking out of the turret.

A synergistic collaboration across ARL and ICT’s Mixed Reality Lab, the TALK-ON project is part of the Army Science and Technology Objective (STO) on Training Effectiveness for Simulations. The team has collected human factors usability data and conducted experimental studies with subject matter experts from the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) to compare the prototype with current state of the art Armor training (Close Combat Tactical Trainer, CCTT). Lessons learned and knowledge products will inform future immersive training environments.