Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE)

WAVE Immersive Training

WAVE training

Many computer based medical simulators focus on individual skills training. However, medical care is frequently rendered by teams. In addition, the conditions under which care is provided can be a crucial factor in training. For example, mass-casualty events can involve the management and triage of large numbers of victims under austere environments. Learning to care for the injured warfighter during combat requires realistic simulation of battlefield conditions. Current simulation systems do not adequately address team training requirements within lifelike environments. The Wide Area Virtual Environment initiative aims to develop an immersive virtual environment to address these needs.

Our initial prototype is based on a CAVE-like system. It uses three vertical screens to display the immersive environment. An observer standing in the enclosed space perceives the illusion of being immersed in a 3D environment. To accommodate larger teams, the adjacent walls in our implementation are angled at 135°. Stereoscopic images are displayed using a paired DLP projectors with polarized filters. Users wear lightweight polarized glasses to view the scene in stereo. To handle very complex scenes at interactive frame rates, we adopt a scalable hardware configuration. Each projector is driven by a PC with hardware accelerated graphics boards. Additional improvements in display resolution and rendering capability can be obtained by tiling the display to increase the number of rendering computers used. Our system also accommodates a 5.1 channel sound system for acoustic presence.

WAVE training session

This approach differs from systems using computer monitors and head-mounted displays in that all members of the team are in physical proximity, yet are still able to interact within a virtual space. A scalable, network-based rendering approach permits highly complex scenes to be rendered in real-time with minimal temporal mismatch between displays. We have also developed a framework for 3D model development that simplifies the transfer of scenarios between the 3D modeling tool and the immersive environment. Work is currently underway to develop educational case content to be used in this environment.The Wide Area Virtual Environment


WAVE Training Concept Animation

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A brief look at the WAVE simulation scenes

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IMSH 2012 Conference WAVE demonstration

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Project Members (Past and Present)

Jamie Cope, Valerie Henry, Eric Acosta, Fernando Reyes, Michael Mc Donnell, Victor Vergara, Jennifer Sieck, Chang Ha Lee, and Alan Liu


We thank Thomas Caudell, Ed Angel, Enrico Trujillo, and members of the University of New Mexico Arts Lab for their contributions.

This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Contract W81XWH-04-1-087. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the authors, and should not be construed as the official positions, policies, or decisions of the US Army unless so designated by other documentation.