José Rizal University Systems
Dr. Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr.,
Graduate School of Business
Master of Business Administration
Emerging Technologies: Virtual Reality in the Military
Submitted by :
John Cris Vincent S. Pelletero
Dr. Lydia C. King
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Trends in the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II Description of the Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
III How it Works and How it is Related to IT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
IV Advantages and Disadvantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Disadvantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
V Application to the Industry Chosen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
VI Ethical Issues in the Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
VII Contribution to Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
VIII References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
I. Trends in the Industry
“Readiness is an age-old focus for militaries. As budget pressures continue to build, digital
resources that are now maturing—data science, cloud computing, and AI—can help the (US)
military be more efficiently prepared.”
(Schultz, Mariani, Jenkins, Strickland, & Raymond, 2018)
Military leaders have always wanted to know if they have enough resources and
capabilities in fighting conditions. In the past couple of years, military readiness has been crucial in
order to combat the ever increasing security threats across the globe.
As militaries across the globe look to maximize the value of every dollar in their budgets,
it seems time to reframe the debate on readiness with a new lens that leverages technologies, data
science, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities unavailable just a few years
The list of emerging technologies for military is quiet long. In fact, there are always new
technologies being developed for the military across the globe. From soldiers’ camouflage armors,
to railguns, the use of autonomous weaponry, 3D printing, and the integration of virtual reality in
military trainings. These are just a few examples of emerging technologies in military that could be
widely used in the next decade.
This research paper will discuss about the emergence of the use of virtual reality (VR) to
train soldiers and police officers to combat security threats around the globe.
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II. Description of the Technology
One might ask: What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality (VR) is a technology by which computer-aided stimuli creates the immersive
illusion of being somewhere else. It represents an extraordinary shift in the way human experience
the digital realm. By enveloping you in an artificial world, or bringing virtual objects into your real-
world environment, "spatial computing" allows you to interact more intuitively with those objects and
When VR became a reality, the military was one of the first to put it in action. The potential
of VR to help reduce the cost of combat training was something that is too big to be ignored. The
military investment in developing VR played a huge role in the advancement of the technology on
a global scale.
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VR allowed military to conduct combat exercises in a risk-free environment. Since the
soldiers are immersed in a virtual world, they can simulate combat missions in any part of the world
– from the Sahara Desert, to the Arctic, to the jungles of Amazon, or in the streets of Afghanistan.
Some of the uses of VR in the military are the following :
Advanced ground vehicle simulator
VR boot camp experience
PTSD recovering therapy
We will discuss the above uses of virtual reality in the military in chapter five.
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III. How it Works and How it is Related to IT
Virtual reality is a computer-generated experience taking place in a virtual environment,
and completely shuts out the physical world.
If you’ve seen the movie Johnny English Strikes Again, you’ll have an idea how VR
completely shuts out the physical world from the user’s experience:
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The heart of virtual reality is IT. VR essentially runs on IT products from the hardware to
receive user’s inputs, to the software which generates the simulation, and process the user’s inputs
and convert it into output.
In order to successfully implement a VR, the following factor must be present:
Refers to the physical world in which the user/participant is located. This
can also include the physical world in which the data to be used to render
a virtual world has been taken.
The input peripherals
This includes devices like sensors and other tracking devices to track the
user’s movement and his location within the VR facility/ground.
The machine which process all the input data, and converts it to output
data. This is also where the VR software is installed.
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This is the heart of it all. It’s the software responsible for simulating the
The output peripherals
This are the devices which receive the output data from the computer. This
can include screens (virtual lenses), speakers, and other devices such as
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IV. Advantages and Disadvantages
In this chapter, we’re going to discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of VR in
Lower cost of training
With the use of virtual reality, the military reduces the expenditures to
transport soldiers to specialized locations and facilities. Without the need
for such facilities, maintenance of such facilities goes out of the window.
Also, fuel and ammunition expenditures are completely out of the picture.
Soldiers can participate in training more often, resulting to more progress
in a short amount of time. VR training is also more effective to the younger
generation of soldiers.
With virtual reality, soldiers can learn more about vehicle types and
environments without any time restrictions. Soldiers can examine
vehicles and weapons without the need to get the actual physical object.
On top of that, soldiers can train anywhere because all the information
can be downloaded from a cloud service.
Virtual reality eliminates all the risks involved in military training such as
shooting, driving tanks, flying aerial vehicles, and parachuting.
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The range of simulation is flexible
Since virtual reality simulation is highly configurable, trainings can be
configure based on the needs of the soldiers. For instance, if the soldiers
need to prepare themselves to a swarm of enemies for their next mission,
it can be easily done using virtual reality. Configurable environments give
a lot of room for a variety of scenarios and their combinations. Also, by
recreating nausea-causing and claustrophobic conditions, you can help
soldiers adapt better without getting them on an actual plane.
There are a lot of disputes regarding the security level of VR devices used
by military personnel. As a result, that hinders the implementation of
virtual reality technologies in training.
This issue will be partially solved when it is decided what authentication
level is enough for usage – a simple code or something more
sophisticated like voice activation.
Another security issue is that there is no fool-proof method to protect a
network from cyber-attacks. And if any classified information is leaked or
stolen, it can have unprecedented consequences for the affected party.
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There are certain limitations of current VR technology that causes motion
sickness if used for too long. Due to a specific frame rate, users can
experience nausea because we are literally “tricking” our brain into
believing that we are moving.
Producing content also poses some challenge. It is easy to create a
simulator for equipment testing, but for more complicated warfare
scenarios, you need more resources.
Cost of initial investment
The initial investment in setting up a virtual reality training facility costs a
lot of money.
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V. Application to the Industry Chosen
In chapter two, we mentioned the five applications of VR simulation in the military. In this
chapter, we will discuss about how these VR simulations work, and how are they related to IT.
A. Advanced Ground Vehicle Simulator
Virtual reality allows soldiers to experience any type of vehicle in an
immersive and realistic way. Military-type VR vehicle simulators constitute a
complex platform that can recreate things like the shape and feel of the vehicle, its
maneuverability on various terrain types, and behavior under different weather
conditions. Soldiers can also navigate environments native to any part of the world,
including the reconstructed settlements of any sort.
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In addition to getting the look and feel of driving military ground vehicles,
the operators of these VR simulators can also add complex games and combat
scenarios to the simulation which is a very important part of military training.
Since the military can conduct the simulation training more frequently, VR
simulation training is more efficient versus the field vehicle training which will
require expenditures on both location, and resources such as fuel and ammunition.
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B. VR Boot Camp Experience
A few years ago, the military combat simulations were played on regular
consoles. These combat simulations allowed soldiers to learn techniques and
strategies that they can apply in real-life scenarios.
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With the advent of VR, software developers took military combat
simulation to a whole new level.
In a short amount of time, VR-equipped training facilities became
widespread. These training facilities use complex VR software, motion trackers,
and life-like equipment like guns and vests.
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The VR combat simulation not only helps soldiers familiarize themselves
with techniques and strategies, it also helps them experience these scenarios.
Unlike the combat simulation in a computer console, VR combat simulation lets
the soldiers properly react in situations using their entire body, and not just by a
click of a mouse.
C. Medical Training
Another area of the military which is integrating the use of VR is its
medical division. Military medics have to work on extremely stressful conditions
and dangerous environments, while putting their lives at risk.
In the past, medical personnel need to be trained on an actual flying
helicopter, or a moving medical truck. This kind of trainings however fail to replicate
the actual scenario on the battlefield such as the loud sounds of explosions and
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Today, the military is incorporating VR in training their medics.
Simulations are being done on different scenarios and locations such as
helicopters, medical trucks, and other possible locations where they are expected
to treat injured soldiers. On top of that, combat scenarios are added in these
simulations to improve the experience and make the simulation as real as possible.
VR applications can also be used to test medical personnel regularly in
order to help them retain their skills. In cases of armed actions, there might be a
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need to reacquire medical skills within a short period. But, due to infrequent use of
skills, any specialist can get “rusty.”
Therefore, a group of researchers has developed a system to test
medical personnel and schedule their training according to the results. After going
through a series of simulation of basic surgical tasks, they can analyze the
performance of muscles (speed, distance, accuracy, etc.) and determine the level
of skills decay according to the medical experience of the person
D. PTSD Recovering Therapy
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can occur following a life-threatening
event like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents,
or violent personal assaults like rape.
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People who suffer from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks,
difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. These symptoms can
significantly impair a person's daily life.
PTSD usually is treated through psychotherapy and medication.
However, with the advent of virtual reality, there is another way of treating
PTSD. Using VR, the therapist can recreate the situations that influenced the
soldier’s mental state in great details. However, in this case, it is absolutely
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harmless and can help them overcome their fears and anxieties by experiencing
those battle scenes once more.
Note: Additional reading
E. Virtual Battlefields
A certain degree of risk will always be involved in real-life military training.
No matter what kind of training it is, fatal accidents can occur every once in a while.
With the help of VR, soldiers can be placed in a risk-free environment
which will let them perform combat drills without accidentally getting shot, or cause
any harm to fellow soldiers.
The idea is to prepare the soldiers for real combat situations, and teach
them ways of dealing with unexpected events such as a sniper attack, but without
putting the soldiers’ lives in danger. It is vitally important that they are taught how
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to react to dangerous settings where the wrong decision may mean the
difference between life and death.
Equipped with a portable battery, a VR headset, and true-to-life guns,
they can model different warfare scenarios accompanied by an AI or their real
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Since virtual reality applications are highly configurable, the military can use the same
equipment for different combat missions and environments, resulting to a substantial reduction to
the training budget and still get effective results at the same time.
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VI. Ethical Issues in the Implementation
Virtual reality has a few issues that needs to be resolved. Since the resurgence of VR,
ethical issues arise left and right. The following are ten ethical concerns about virtual reality:
Virtual reality doesn’t just use headsets which covers the eyes as well as
the ears. It also uses VR gloves, and a growing number of accessories
and attachments. While these accessories will make the VR experience
more realistic, it also limits the users access to their sense data which
leaves them vulnerable to accidents that can come from being distracted.
VR presents a danger of making people neglect their real-world social
connections. This is on top of a study which shows that social media is
already making its users feel more socially isolated.
Due to the emergence of violent games, there is a danger that VR will
make its users be less affectionate or less affected by violence.
Last year (2017), academic researchers in the U.S. released the result of
longitudinal study which found that repeatedly playing violent video
games led to decrease emotional sensitivity and a lessened capacity for
guilt among participants. Due to higher levels of immersion, there is a big
possibility that this effect could be more potent with virtual reality.
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Overestimation of abilities
Younger people could over estimate their abilities and their expertise
because of VR. They could think that their abilities in video games could
seemingly transfer into the real-world, such as driving, martial art skill,
A study from Stanford University found out that that children who plays
VR games often fail to distinguish feats in real-life and VR – from treating
their avatars as though they are their real bodies, to watching their virtual
reality doppelgangers swimming with orcas and then recalling it as a real-
Being immersed in VR can have psychological effects on some users.
Experts in neuroscience have spoken of “depersonalization” which could
result in a user believing that their physical body in an avatar. It is also
believed that VR gaming can cause post-traumatic stress disorder.
If there’s any industry getting excited about virtual reality, it’s the porn
industry. The adult entertainment website Pornhub is already reporting
that views of VR content are up 225 percent since it debuted in 2016.
This obviously isn’t an ethical problem in and of itself, but it does become
problematic if/when “unpalatable” fantasies become immersive. We have
to ask: should there be limitations on uber realistic representations of
aggressive, borderline-pedophilic, or other more perverse types of VR
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erotica? Or outside of the realm of porn, to what extent is it OK to make
a game out of the events of 9/11, as is the case with the 08.46
Torture / virtual criminality
There is a concern that VR could be used by the military to conduct
With virtual reality, advertisers will be able to access the users’ entire
surrounding free from distraction, which is what concerns other people
that such thing could be used as new covert tactics involving product
placements and subliminal advertising.
Appropriate roaming and re-creation
One of the exciting selling points of virtual reality is that it can let users
roam virtually anywhere in the world. However, restrictions must be
applied about where is the appropriate place to roam and not be able to
invade/enter any home or apartments. Such ethical parameters should
be clear to all users and developers of VR.
Privacy and data
German researchers have raised the concern that if our online avatars
mirror our real-world movements and gestures, these “motor intentions”
and the “kinetic fingerprints” of our unique movement signatures can be
tracked, read, and exploited by predatory entities. Again, it’s clear that
there needs to be an open and consultative dialogue with regards to what
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is collectable, and what should be off-limits in terms of our virtual
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VII. Contribution to Sustainable Development
Virtual reality is not only currently used for training by the military, it is also being used to
train healthcare professionals prepare for complex surgeries and medical procedures. With the
support coming from the military for the advancement of VR, the entire world is reaping the benefits
of faster development for the said technology.
Improving healthcare is probably one of the best contributions of virtual reality in today’s
world. Here are a few examples of how VR is helping create a better world through healthcare.
Advancing autism therapy
A company called Floreo is using virtual reality to meaningfully impact
individuals with autism. The company is leveraging the power of VR
to develop a supplementary method of teaching social and
communication skills to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
24 https://floreotech.com/ & https://uploadvr.com/healthcare-vr-improve/
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Reducing chronic pain
Projects like Farmoo have been created to help distract minds of
patients suffering from chronic pain. VR is used to saturate the minds
of these patients with wonderful and cheerful sensations so that they
will be less prone to painful senses.
Relaxing hospitalized patients
A company called VisitU provides hospital patients with
downloadable apps and virtual glasses to allow them to get in touch
with their loved ones any time of the day. VR makes it easier for their
loved ones to keep in touch at any time without the need to drive to
Restoring low vision
A software company called IrisVision partnered with Vision Australia
and Samsung Australia to create a VR device that allows vision-
impaired individuals see better.
The IrisVision software magnifies objects to allow users to see them
properly. The users get to choose the magnification along with other
settings light brightness and contrast, allowing them to be able to
perform eye-hand coordinated activities with ease.
With the examples mentioned in this chapter and the previous chapters, VR is currently
contributing to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals number 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) by
helping improve healthcare, and number 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) by making sure
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that our military and police forces are well trained and are well prepared to combat any threat in
peace and order.
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Military Readiness – How emerging technologies can transform defense capabilities
The Wired Guide to Virtual Reality
VR Military Training – The next step in combat evolution
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Can Virtual Reality Help Cure PTSD?
Virtual Reality in the Military
10 Ethical Concerns that will Shape the VR Industry
7 Ways VR is Improving Healthcare
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