Silicon Valley's Virtual Soldier Heads Into Battle

3D training to prepare for the real thing

By Scott Budman
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:34 AM PDT
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Virtual Soldier Heads Into Battle

AP

Real soldier.

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It's a slightly unsettling scene:  A man, dressed in camouflage, aiming a machine gun -- while prowling around an office conference room.

The fact that the camouflage is rigged with wires, and connected to a computer in the soldier's backpack gives this one away:  It's a scene taking place inside the offices of Quantum 3D, a Silicon Valley Company training soldiers the virtual way:  By sending them to a virtual Afghanistan.

The soldiers who train wear the gear, along with 3D glasses equipped with screens.  It's virtual reality writ large.  These men and women are 100% immersed in the battlefield, while actually prowling around the conference room, gymnasium, or parking lot.

Quantum 3D created the technology for military applications, and they've already sold a bunch to the US military.  Meanwhile, they're showing it off to armed forces in other (allied) countries as well, and getting a good reception.  Quantum 3D executives say they're proud to lend a high-tech hand in military training, and, judging by the reception the product is getting, it's training that will be around for awhile.

Look for more 3D action on NBC Bay Area News at 6.  Scott’s on Twitter: @scottbudman

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