The Wide Area Virtual Environment
- Lessons Learned

Eric Acosta, Jamie Cope, Valerie Henry, Grady Wier,
Raymond Machacon, Richard Madrid, and Alan Liu

MMVR 2014

Workshop Members



  • Alan Liu, Ph.D.

    Dr. Liu is the Director of the Virtual Medical Environments Laboratory at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center (SimCen). He is involved in defining the SimCen's strategic research goals, and directing the development of the SimCen's computer-based medical training systems. Dr. Liu is the principal architect for the SimCen's Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE), a 1000 sq. ft. total immersion virtual environment for mass casualty training, with applications in military medical readiness, and homeland defense. Dr. Liu is also the Principal Investigator on the Tri-Service Open Platform for Simulation (TOPS) project. TOPS seeks to develop a standard, open hardware platform for computer-based medical simulation.



  • Grady Wier

    Mr. Grady Wier is the Director of Research and Development for the Air Force Medical Modeling and Simulation Training (AFMMAST) program at Randolph AFB, TX. The AFMMAST program consists of 80+ Air Force training sites worldwide. Mr. Wier provides oversight and guidance for the entire research and development portfolio of the AFMMAST Program. Mr. Wier also collects and maintains a centralized data repository for program requirements to prioritize research and material development needs and advocates for funding via various AF and DoD channels. Mr. Wier manages, develops, and implements innovative research studies. He leads funded research to fruition and ensures findings are incorporated into the AFMMAST research portfolio. One of the currently funded research projects is assessing the training effectiveness of the Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE) technology at the Medical Readiness & Training Center (MRTC) at Camp Bullis, TX. Mr. Wier and his team also assess overall program value via a return on investment tool. Mr. Wier obtained a Master of Science degree in Health Services Research from Texas State University in 2007. He provides statistical expertise and support to the AFMMAST program in addition to other duties.



  • Raymond Machacon

    Raymond Machacon is the Wide Area Virtual Environment Program Manager for the Camp Bullis WAVE Program in San Antonio, TX.



  • Richard Madrid

    Richard A. Madrid Jr. (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF, Ret) is a native of Ventura, CA. He entered the United States Air Force in May 1984, as an Aerospace Medical Service Specialist. Richard has served in numerous leadership positions and several Special Duty assignments which include Master Military Training Instructor, Assistant Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge Neonatal Intensive Care Complex, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge/Instructor Davis Hyperbaric Laboratory (Certified Hyperbaric Technician), Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge Expeditionary Medical Support, Additional Duty First Sergeant, Superintendent, Executive Officer and culminated his Air Force career as the Interservice Training Review Organization Medical Program Manager, Directorate of Intelligence, Operations, and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, TX where he oversaw and reviewed Interservice Training Review Organization studies and evaluations and made appropriate recommendations on the $1.2B BRAC training programs. He has deployed in various locations in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Sea Signal and in support of the Global War on Terrorism with two Detainee Support Missions. He currently works for Uniformed Services University, Val G. Hemming Simulation Center as a Senior Medical Simulation Education Program Coordinator working with the Federal Medical Simulation Training Consortium which directs two research and development projects: the Tri-Service Medical Simulation Training Initiative (TMSTI) and the Tri-Service Open Platform for Simulation (TOPS). The FMSTC is a collaborative partnership between nine Department of Defense organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs with a mission to enhance the medical education and training process through knowledge management, common goals and joint training initiatives. The FMSTC is working with research and education professionals to develop tools, templates, and methodologies with the purpose of enhancing medical education and training through simulation and technology. Richard currently works in partnership with the Air Force Medical Modeling Simulation and Training Central Program Office (AFMMAST CPO) Headquarters, Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.



  • Jamie Cope

    Mr. Cope is a Senior Computer Research Scientist at the VME Lab. He is involved in the research, development, and maintenance of the WAVE (Wide Area Virtual Environment) system. This includes all aspects of the system - audio, video, networking, workflow integration, and more. Mr. Cope received his BSE in Computer Science and Engineering and MSI in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan.



  • Valerie Henry

    Valerie Henry is a 3D Medical Simulation Designer for the VME Lab. She is responsible for all aspects of designing and implementing the 3D environments for the WAVE, from creating and maintaining the 3D scenes to generating and editing the audio elements. Ms. Henry also assists the VME Lab with running training events in the WAVE. She earned her bachelors degree in biology from California State University, Chico. From there she continued on to earn her masters degree of fine arts in the field of medical illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate NY.



  • Eric Acosta, Ph.D.

    Dr. Eric Acosta is a Computer Research Engineer at the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center. While at the center, he has contributed to the research and development of various computer-based medical simulation technologies. Dr. Acosta's current research efforts are directed towards the center's Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE). He has helped build its deferred rendering architecture to improve rendering speeds, while supporting algorithms that enhance the visual quality. He has also integrated optical tracking to track users within the WAVE and simulate the use of weapons in combat medical training scenarios. Dr. Acosta is assisting in developing software to monitor and control the WAVE's hardware infrastructure. He is also developing software to integrate devices, such as air cannons, smell/smoke generators and a motion platform, to enhance the immersive training experience. He has also served as the lead researcher and developer of several Virtual Reality-based surgical simulators that include haptic, visual, and audio feedback. The simulators include a head trauma, cricothyroidotomy, and pulmonary artery catheterization simulators. Dr. Acosta is also one of the primary architects and the developer of a pipelined virtual environment architecture for multi-core CPU systems. The architecture serves as a unified platform for developing the Sim Center's next generation simulators. Dr. Acosta received his PhD in 2006 from Texas Tech University, with his dissertation topic focused on establishing a software development platform for stable haptic Virtual Reality applications.