A Virtual Reality Application for the Training of Deminers

A Virtual Reality Application for the Training of Deminers


This article is brought to you by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) from issue 25.1 of The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction

By Lynn Al Khansa,* Elias Bou Saada,* Rachid Maalouf,* Mohammed Al-Husseini, Ph.D.,** Ali El-Hajj, Ph.D.,* Mohammed Baydoun, Ph.D.,, and Hassan Ghaziri, Ph.D. [ *Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, American University of Beirut ] and [ **Beirut Research and Innovation Center, Lebanese Center for Studies and Research ]

As virtual reality (VR) tools continue to improve, more fields are finding ways of implementing the technology to take advantage of training opportunities that reduce costs, alleviate logistical challenges, and more. Where humanitarian deminers must prepare for dangerous work, VR facilitates training that minimizes the danger while giving trainers a level of control over the different conditions of the training and the ability to easily monitor and instruct the user. For this purpose, the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Beirut Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) developed a VR application for the basic training of deminers, which is called the VR Demining Trainer (VRDT). The first version of the VRDT, presented herein, teaches trainees how to turn on a metal detector, test the detector, conduct soil compensation, and start searching in a virtual minefield. These activities can be done in a closed room, regardless of time of day or weather conditions. Different training scenario attributes—including soil properties, landmine types, and locations—can be easily selected beforehand via software. The VRDT, which is a lab-ready prototype being developed using the Unreal Engine software and the Oculus Quest VR device, is not meant to replace but supplement field training, cutting down on training time and logistics by performing basic training phases in a VR-controlled environment.

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Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, September 24, 2021

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