Print 22 comment(s) - last by thesaxophonist.. on May 10 at 8:43 PM

  (Source: TuJobs)
The new system is currently in use with a M113

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and subcontractor Rockwell Collins, Inc. (COL) squandered over $50M USD [PDF] in U.S. taxpayer money making a heads up display which was supposed to display video feeds from camera around the F-35 fighter jet.  The display never quite worked properly.  After many delays, exasperated U.S. Air Force (USAF) commanders finally wrote of the cost of the VSI-HMC program, signing a new contract to pay BAE Systems plc (LON:BA) millions more to produce a replacement augmented reality helmet.
Perhaps the USAF should have looked to Kickstarter funded, John Carmack brainchild Oculus VR, instead.
Hot off its recent acquisition by Facebook, Inc. (FB) Oculus VR already has an interesting application in the works courtesy of the Norwegian Armed Forces.  The Norwegian Army's Panserbataljonen ("panzer battalion") unit is testing out using Oculus VR as a heads up display for its tanks and armored personnel vehicles.

Norway tank
Norwegian soldiers pilot an M113 with Oculus VR [Image Source: TuJobs]

The project is co-produced by Norway's Making View, a small startup contractor in Hamar, Norway.  It has modified a special M113 with cameras on the outside to give a 360 view.  

Comments development manager, Daniel Mestervik:

Those who play "Battlefield" do indeed have a better view than in an actual vehicle. However, with our software you can add the information and views you are used to from games: an overview map, spatial (geographical) orientation, tilt and speed.

Versus the millions that the failed Lockheed HUD project cost the USAF, the Norwegian Army paid under $10,000 USD for several $2,000 USD Oculus dev kits.  As the software is open to developers, they were quickly able to write software to display the exterior of the vehicle to their drivers.
Norway currently has around 300 M113 armored vehicles (made in the U.S.), which form the backbone of its troop carrying.  Assuming success, the project could be rolled out to the fleet and could also begin testing with the rest of Norway's armored battalions, which include Leopard 2 tanks (German-made) and CV9030N (made by a Swedish subsidiary of BAE Systems) armored fighting vehicles.
And the project is indeed showing strong signs of success.
The entire project is now basically finished, with drivers literally driving around a test course in Rena, Norway with the armored personnel carrier (APC).  Using Oculus VR, the drivers could pull of the feat of parallel parking the APC with centimeter precision.

Oculus VR driving
Oculus VR driving the M113 [Image Source: TuJobs]

The drivers enthuse that the results are great, akin to playing a videogame. The best part is that it probably cost less than $100,000 USD for all the hardware involved.
While that's a lot better than paying $50M+ USD and getting nothing in return, don't expect that kind of cost-effective spending anytime soon in the U.S.  After all, as Elon Musk's SpaceX recently learned the hard way, exclusive government contracts are a tough nut to crack.

Sources: TuTV, TuJobs

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By BRB29 on 5/5/2014 12:51:20 PM , Rating: 1
*hacks Occulus VR

*tanks blow up each other

By Jeffk464 on 5/5/2014 1:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
You can't hack it if its not hooked up to a network. What I'm thinking is its got to be the ultimate motion sickness machine. As far as cost of the US system we all know the government contractor sticking it to the tax payer thing, nothing to see here.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/14, Rating: 0
By name99 on 5/5/14, Rating: 0
By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2014 2:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
We're talking military here, not electronics. Which I'm well aware that Asia started kicking our ass in that department in the 1980's.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2014 4:53:11 PM , Rating: 3
Also your examples...uhhh, kind of contradictory.

America invented the personal computer as well as the modern operating system. Without Microsoft, IBM, Tandy, and Apple (I'm sure I left out tons of others) it's hard to say where we would even be today.

The Internet? Again, America.

And your car example, again, America is where the automobile was brought to the masses. The assembly line was pioneered here, and it was here that the automobile became more than just a curiosity for the rich few. America INVENTED the automotive industry.

Now since I know anytime an American exhibits the slightest pride in ones country, he is shouted down, let me explain. I'm not saying we're more "kick ass" than everyone, or that the entire rest of the world is a bunch of mouth-breathers waiting for the USA. I think people are mostly the same wherever you go.

However I believe our Capitalist culture and society, just Capitalism in general, allows the best opportunity for invention and innovation. Throughout history NO form of incentives or motivation has been proven more successful than the personal profit motive.

By Ophion on 5/6/2014 12:12:26 AM , Rating: 2
First off, that's not what contradictory means, you might want to look that up. Also, if you trace a certain invention back and forth in history, you're bound to end up in either America or Europe at some point... usually in both.

The first commercially produced PC was the Programma 101, which was Italian.

Modern operating systems are all based on concepts by Alan Turing, born in Britain.

On one hand we have the Internet, founded by DARPA, but on the other hand we have the World Wide Web, pioneered by Tim Berners-Lee.

Ford commercialized the automobile with the cheap Model T, but that's hardly a novel invention, as both the car (and car industry) had existed for decades earlier in Europe.

The assembly line method of construction dates back to the 1100s, when the Venetian Arsenal (Italy) used it to construct ships. It's nothing new. What America invented was the conveyor belt, not for construction purposes, but for transporting coal.


There are relatively few cases where you can say that an invention belongs to a single country, especially in modern days when work often happen globally, even though the end product is usually released first in America.

Also, even the most novel inventions are rarely created out of thin air. Usually they're constructed from already existing things, but with minor additions, which means that once you start looking at all the bits and pieces that went into it, you end up with something made from contributions by people from all over the world.

By DougF on 5/6/2014 3:41:26 AM , Rating: 2
A minor clarification here and agreement that innovation, thanks to the WWW, Internet, and open skies and sea lanes (thank you US Military); does move back and forth between various nations/areas of the planet.
Henry Ford's innovation was not the assembly line (a common mistake), but to move the warehouse into the assembly area, shortening the time required to supply parts to the line. This was seen by a one Mr. Toyoda (yes with a "d", of the Toyota company we know and love/hate today), who took Ford's idea back to Japan and then created the Toyota Production System for their car manufacturing plants. Along with Deming's influence this became the LEAN system now promulgating throughout the world to eliminate waste.

By atechfan on 5/6/2014 7:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that the United States is basically the Research and Development firm for the entire WORLD

I'm not saying we're more "kick ass" than everyone, or that the entire rest of the world is a bunch of mouth-breathers waiting for the USA.

Love how we can always count on you to contradict yourself.

By thesaxophonist on 5/10/2014 8:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
The Internet? Again, America.

Nope, that was Al Gore. :P

By Souka on 5/5/2014 2:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
You can't hack it if its not hooked up to a network

All these tanks are networked.

Heck, current combat troops have live streaming cams during operations... this is no different

By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2014 3:16:47 PM , Rating: 1
*tank smashes through a house*

"What the *$$#)#)I($ are you doing, Private!!!???!!??"

"I got lag, sir!"

By kattanna on 5/5/2014 4:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
its only used for viewing your surroundings, not controlling the tank

Weak point?
By maevinj on 5/5/2014 1:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
It has modified a special M113 with cameras on the outside to give a 360 view

What happens if a sniper shoots out the cameras?

RE: Weak point?
By Jeffk464 on 5/5/2014 2:52:11 PM , Rating: 3
I'm guessing they will keep building armored vehicles with the current view points as a backup. I'm sure the camera's will be behind protective glass though.

RE: Weak point?
By Jeffk464 on 5/5/2014 2:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
view ports

"touch nut to crack"
By Vertigo2000 on 5/5/2014 12:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
I know what was intended... simple spelling error.

But those 4 words made me laugh. Fragile nuts.

RE: "touch nut to crack"
By Brandon Hill on 5/5/2014 12:25:49 PM , Rating: 2

Fragile nuts? "Must be Italian!" ;)

$2000 Dev Kit?
By funguseater on 5/5/2014 3:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the Dev Kit 2 only $350? The first DevKit was only $300, maybe this is because the military just is just used to paying more? idk

people you elected
By 2bdetermine on 5/5/2014 10:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
exclusive government contracts are a tough nut to crack.

Government is corporation and vice versa. The people you elected, you think they're working for your interests?

By Duncan_Macdonald on 5/6/2014 6:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
If an armoured vehicle is closed up for combat then the vision of the crew is normally very limited. This should allow much better vision for the tank crew without the danger of having their heads exposed.

A Great Article
By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2014 12:59:03 PM , Rating: 1
Kinda ruined by an ending that interjects nationalism and a pointless tie-in to an article about Elon Musk and space contracting costs. I mean...why?

Dude we were racing to the finish line, only to have you hurl cinder blocks in our path :P

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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