Sophisticated simulations help researchers improve weapons

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Minisi (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Holmes run through a simulation in the Simulated Weapon Environment Testbed, or SWeET at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Minisi (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Holmes run through a simulation in the Simulated Weapon Environment Testbed, or SWeET at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

By Ed Lopez and Cassandra Mainiero, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

As engineers design new weapons or modify existing ones, reducing time and money on development can be critical in providing Soldiers with improved weapons without undue delay.

A new sight may be planned for the M4 rifle, but how well does a prototype design work? Where would be the best place to mount it for the most accuracy and ease of use? Or new, nonlethal weapons may be needed, but will they perform as expected at different ranges?

Using a combination of artificial intelligence, cameras and computers loaded with ballistics data, engineers at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., have developed a testing environment that can help to answer many critical questions about the performance of existing weapons and new ones planned.

“People are surprised how realistic our simulated environments look,” said Keith Koehler, a mechanical engineer at the Weapons Technology Branch, part of the Weapons Software Engineering Center, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. “We had a few friends, who were deployed Soldiers, walk into the scenarios and you could tell to a degree that they lost themselves in the environment.”

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Army announces virtual worlds challenge finalists

Army announces virtual worlds challenge finalists
ORLANDO, Fla. — This week, the U.S. Army announced finalists in a competition designed to uncover new potentials in virtual worlds. The Research, Development and Engineering Command’s simulation and training center launched the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge in August 2009 to reach a global development community and explore innovative, interactive training and analysis solutions in virtual worlds.
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