Best Paper of ITEC 2022

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IT²EC 2022 once again featured the Best Paper Award review process. The result is an enjoyable, high quality, and forward-leaning technical program for IT²EC delegates. Eight extended abstracts and accompanying presentations were evaluated by the Best Paper Award Committee during the conference. The winner of the Best Paper Award was the contribution that most embodied the 2022 theme of IT²EC, “Navigating rapidly evolving technologies for Training and Education.”

Winner

Dr. Karthik Sarma, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, SimX

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Karthik V. Sarma PhD is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of SimX. A computer scientist with extensive experience in medicine, bioengineering, health policy, and virtual reality, Karthik has led the development of the SimX platform since co-founding the company in 2014 and is a leading expert in virtual reality training and simulation. He also serves as principal investigator of the Virtual Advancement of Learning for Operational Readiness (VALOR) program, a research collaboration between the US Air Force Special Operations Command, AFVentures, and SimX.

 

"XR Medical Simulation Training for the Future of Near-Peer Multi-Domain Operations"

In future all-domain combat operations against near-peer competitors, efforts to achieve the "Golden Hour" are likely to be overwhelmed by casualty counts incurred from the use of highly effective weaponry employed by nations on a scale not seen in recent decades. Thus, achieving optimal survivability and recovery under combat situations requires training a significantly larger proportion of warfighting personnel in stabilizing and temporizing medical techniques and protocols in order to extend the "Golden Hour" for as long as possible. Here, we discuss ongoing efforts to develop and sustain such capabilities though the United States Air Force-funded Virtual Advancement of Learning for Operational Readiness (VALOR) program, a large-scale XR for medical simulation training research program with detail on successes and opportunities for future improvement in achieving the overall programmatic goals of improved realism, increased flexibility, and reduced cost for XR medical simulation training.

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Honourable Mentions

Dirk Thijssen, Royal NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Centre

Using eXtended Reality as Digital Twin for training and collaboration: the FLEX-XR case study                       

More than fifty years ago man first set foot on the moon, followed by six more successful crewed missions to the lunar surface. The last crewed mission dates back to 1972, after which interest in moon exploration diminished. Renewed interest in lunar exploration and colonization sparked the development of the Lunar analogue facilities (LUNA) at the ESA’s Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne. Part of LUNA is the Future Lunar Exploration Habitat (FLEXHab), which will serve as a simulation habitat to train for future lunar missions. In order to maximize efficiency and flexibility in the use of FLEXHab, the user should be able to familiarize themselves with the simulation before entering the facility. Extended Reality (XR) is expected to provide these benefits with a low-cost solution. The FLEX-XR project goal is to showcase possibilities of Virtual Reality for user familiarisation with the FLEXHab facilities, as well as support them in their experiment design process, by creating a digital twin of the facility This digital twin will consist of a Virtual Reality (VR) application allowing users to prepare for their experiments (e.g. laboratory lay-out, required instruments and wiring) and to train as a group, with a focus on familiarizing these users with the facility. At a later stage, an Augmented Reality (AR) application will also be developed to offer just-in-time and just-in-place information, procedures and data streams, while working in the real FLEXHab. Cooperation with ground support can also be facilitated by this AR application. FLEX-XR aims to demonstrate the added value of VR- and AR-applications for future lunar missions.

Ben Bell, Eduworks Corporation

Transparency in AI for Digital Twin-Inspired Air Combat Agents: A New Implementation of Work-Practice Modeling

This paper presents an enhancement to the digital twin approach that models work practices to capture and simulate socio-technical processes needed to train today’s forces for changing conditions. Our approach models not only individual entity behaviors but also the processes and data that capture their interactions and inter-dependencies. Our approach is inspired by a U.S. government-developed agent-based modeling framework called Brahms, based on socio-cognitive theories of perception, inference, communication, and collaboration, that employs an activity-based approach to represent how functions are carried out in practice. While the models and data structures in Brahms are well-suited to our enhanced notion of simulation, Brahms’ realtime performance is limited by a resource-heavy architecture inadequate for developing socio-technical models of complex, realistic tactical scenarios. In response, we developed Brahms-Lite, a simulation environment that encapsulates the Brahms model in a modern, supported, efficient and interoperable computational framework. We report on an implementation of Brahms-Lite recently applied in air-to-air combat scenarios to illustrate a broader interpretation of socio-technical systems. We report on third-party performance evaluation of the Brahms agents and conclude with a discussion of how this technique can be applied more broadly to extend digital twin approaches in simulations of complex environments.