Can today's virtual soldier protect tomorrow's troops?

The high-tech gear and equipment that will arm the military forces of tomorrow are undergoing rigorous testing today – not on people, but on Santos, a virtual soldier coming to life in a University of Iowa lab.

Iowa City-based Virtual Soldier Research has created the simulated soldier using complicated computer equations. It does also include some help from a few actual humans, such as an ROTC student and potential future soldier, as shown in a Pentagon Channel report posted on the Defense Department’s Armed with Science blog.

Santos serves as a test bed for a range of applications: clothing, protective gear, packs, vehicles and even Harley-Davidson motorcycles, according to the report. Santos allows researchers to test out futuristic military accouterments in a way that its creators believe hasn’t been done before.

“The inclusion of real-world constraints such as gravity, muscle fatigue, muscle strength, clothing restrictions, material properties, and physical restrictions in all of our models allows us to create the most realistic pre-production test environment,” according to the VSR website.

Santos’ creators, who are also developing a female counterpart to be called Sophia, believe the virtual soldier isn’t just a way to test out new equipment; it’s a tool that sets the stage for future development and collaboration, the site notes.

The program is also gearing up for even more expansion: all four military branches are utilizing the virtual soldier technology to test and help design equipment, and the company behind Santos just received an $8.5 million contract with the military to design protective gear, according to the Pentagon Channel.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group