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

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

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