Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TARGET (Training Augmented Reality Generalised Environment Toolkit)
Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-10-31
A major challenge within TARGET was the integration wide variety of technologies. These ranged from specifically developed components such as Mixed Reality (MR), assessment tools and geospatial environments through to legacy police command and control systems. An example is collecting data in real time from interactions within augmented reality (AR) and displaying training metrics. A message oriented middleware approach was used which in future allows for the connection of new devices and services. TARGET provides tools which let trainers develop new or customize existing scenarios. A run-time environment is also provided so that the trainer can change aspects of the scenario in real time, they can also view assessment data.
TARGET developed two drone approaches for capturing models of real world outdoor locations. The first an unmanned photogrammetry survey drone was developed and used to capture a variety of locations which were used within two of training scenarios these include a Berlin Airport and a motorway in Germany. A second iteration which used a swarm drone approach was developed and successfully tested. MR formed a key part of TARGET and the scenarios supported AR, virtual reality and also the use of tracked objects within AR scenes. As the project was security related, an overall MR platform was developed which could be easily installed and run on local machines or remote servers. Positioning of real world objects indoors is also supported and these can be tracked and behaviors attached which impact on what is displayed within the AR HMDs.
From a platform perspective TARGET has moved beyond the state-of-the-art used in training scenarios as it connects both legacy tools and new innovative technologies together so that organisations can train using the components which best reflect their needs. As it stands TARGET connects MR technologies, a base platform, tracked real world objects, advanced drone imaging technologies and geospatial systems. When combined with the scenario editing tools and the advanced assessment engine, they provide a strong basis for future research and work in SCA training. Furthermore, the combination of these components allows scenarios which can be used by different command levels.
TARGET is flexible and allows organisations to assemble new scenarios based on a library of components. While the editing tools require some improvement, they allow for (compared to current solutions) ways to create and modify scenarios on site, therefore making it lower cost and easier to run scenarios. A key finding in the project is that first responder organisations are often reluctant to adopt serious games of gamification approaches within sensitive training scenarios. These were for a variety of reasons including the negative perception by the trainees and members of the public to “game-like” training approaches. Also reducing training scenarios to points, levels and badges was viewed by some to trivialize scenario or be mismatched to overall learning objectives. TARGET never intended to replace existing training techniques, but instead aimed to complement them and has the potential to provide a new phase in the training cycle and at relatively low-cost.
While the currently available AR hardware may not be suitable for all use scenarios at this time, other aspects of the project have illustrated high levels of immediate promise. For example, the advanced 3D photogrammetry drone systems developed in TARGET have won a major award, are now going through a commercialisation phase. While work on the 2D geospatial tools for use within the command post environments continues to attract interest. The TARGET systems were demonstrated at varying TRL (4-7) levels within end-user organisations and a thorough assessment of the strengths and weaknesses was undertaken. A start-up has also been set-up to exploit other results from TARGET. Finally, two scenarios will be possibly be used for training.