We’ve seen virtual reality used to simulate the experience of being in space, to train engineers and even to help patients regain mobility, so it’s no surprise that the military is recognizing VR’s potential, too. The US Special Operations Command recently announced that it will employ NeuroTracker — a system currently used to train athletes in the NFL and NHL — to assess and improve commandos’ response times and perceptive capabilities.
The VR setup tasks commandos with following the movements of four different balls projected on a 3D screen, the catch being that four “decoy” objects are also bouncing around. NeuroTracker assesses how well an individual can keep track of the designated targets, and also helps determine how he or she would be able to predict trajectories in the field. Once a user has completed the first game, several variations come into play, including a version that speeds up the balls’ movements and one that pits two players against each other. CogniSens, the company behind NeuroTracker, says the game develops perceptive abilities just like a workout develops muscles; there’s even a high-intensity gameplay option that combines the mental challenge with physical conditioning exercises.