BEMR: A new reality for the future force

December 10, 2015

ARLINGTON, Va.--New virtual-reality capabilities emerging at the Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality--or BEMR--Lab, in San Diego, California, will make dramatic impacts across the Navy and Marine Corps, including advancements in affordable virtual training, data assessment, firing of weapons and even basic concepts of operations.

The program is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and developed at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific (SSC Pacific).

Viewers can get an inside look at some of the technology in a new video from ONR.

"The BEMR Lab is a constellation of technologies in augmented and virtual reality," said Karl Van Orden, senior technologist at the BEMR Lab. "It's a place where we can explore how to exploit those technologies in our warfighting systems."

When people think of virtual reality, many imagine Tony Stark from the "Iron Man" movies, hands raised and moving virtual displays projected in front of him. While that might be fanciful now, Navy engineers are working hard to develop such capabilities.

Virtual reality (VR) describes a scenario where a participant is completely immersed in a simulated/virtual world. Augmented reality (AR), by contrast, is used to describe a state where virtual objects are imposed onto real-world vision, like the yellow lines superimposed on televised sports.

When these technologies are merged, and one can easily jump between states of virtuality, it's called Mixed Reality, or MxR.

As the video shows, the BEMR Lab team believes this technology is ready now. Their vision: The future force will soon train and operate in very different ways.

"What mixed reality is all about is immersion--you want to get the warfighter feeling like he's really in the space," said BEMR Lab lead Heidi Buck.

Importantly, advanced VR and AR capabilities will utilize the skills of young Sailors and Marines.

"The modern naval force has grown up with computers at home, video games, arcades and head-mounted displays in their personal life," noted Dr. Lawrence Schuette, director of research at ONR. "Coming to float and seeing it onboard ship is just a logical extension."

Senior naval leadership has called for increased use of technological advances. In a recent address at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said: "It's about the team that can bring the people, the technology and the processes together to learn the fastest--that's the team that has the advantage."

Virtual technologies could result in significant cost savings--for example: And the BEMR Lab team is utilizing low-cost, commercial-off-the-shelf technologies, like Oculus Rift VR goggles.

The effort ties in to the Naval S&T Strategy, which calls for leveraging advancements in a "rapidly changing landscape of new technologies."
The new ONR video can be seen here (

Office of Naval Research

Related Virtual Reality Articles from Brightsurf:

Virtual reality forests could help understanding of climate change
The effects of climate change are sometimes difficult to grasp, but now a virtual reality forest, created by geographers, can let people walk through a simulated forest of today and see what various futures may hold for the trees.

New virtual reality software allows scientists to 'walk' inside cells
Virtual reality software which allows researchers to 'walk' inside and analyze individual cells could be used to understand fundamental problems in biology and develop new treatments for disease.

From virtual to reality! Virtual training improves physical and cognitive functions
Researchers at the Smart-Aging Research Center (IDAC) at Tohoku University have developed an innovative training protocol that, utilizing immersive virtual reality (IVR), leads to real physical and cognitive benefits.

Virtual and augmented reality: warnings about the ethical dangers
Research on virtual reality started in the eighties, but it is now that good quality is available to the public and it can become a mass consumer product soon.

Easing the burden of coronavirus with virtual reality
A new article discusses the psychological stresses imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and suggests that virtual reality can help alleviate the psychological impact of the need for social isolation.

Virtual reality makes empathy easier
Virtual reality activates brain networks that increase your ability to identify with other people, according to new research published in eNeuro.

Physiotherapy could be done at home using virtual reality
Virtual reality could help physiotherapy patients complete their exercises at home successfully thanks to researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, who managed to combine VR technology with 3D motion capture.

Using virtual reality to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder
Novel interventions using virtual reality to aid individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) handle common scenarios may include helping youngsters navigate air travel.

Virtual reality illuminates the power of opioid-associated memories
The brain acts differently when remembering environments associated with drug use.

Virtual reality could help flu vaccination rates
Using a virtual reality simulation to show how flu spreads and its impact on others could be a way to encourage more people to get a flu vaccination, according to a study by researchers at the University of Georgia and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Read More: Virtual Reality News and Virtual Reality Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to