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Defence: New Organic Motion Platform at ITEC 2010

Several important new products conceived for military training have been presented this week at London’s ITEC 2010, the largest Defence Training and Simulation Exhibition in Europe.

Among them, one of the most innovative is the “STAGE Military Tracking System”, presented by Organic Motion, a New York-based company.

As Organic Motion’s CEO Andrew Tschesnok explained, “STAGE MTS” allows the military to track full bodies in real time with no need to attach any kind of sensor on the suit of the training soldiers. An evolution of the civilian users-oriented product named “STAGE”, “STAGE MTS” can, in its basic setup, track up to ten people moving in a space of about 900 square yards.

The system requires a set of at least three movement-capturing cameras that can be mounted on fixed positions as well as on portable tripods. After having set up the cameras, the system is ready to track movements, with an effective and complete bypass of time-consuming configuration and re-configuration procedures required by other tracking systems.

“STAGE MTS” has a display monitor, which shows  a rendered image of the body as captured by the system. This can be shown as a model or a realistic military avatar, and displays all the movements of the soldiers, from position changes to hands signals.

Organic Motion Screenshot

Potential applications of the system stretch from simulated environments, with training soldiers moving in a computer-rendered three-dimensional ambient, to the simulation of convoy movements: “Right now, when soldiers are involved in a vehicle simulation, everything ends when they dismount from the vehicle. They can’t see themselves, nor can people in other vehicles see them” Mr. Tschesnok underlines. “STAGE MTS” solves this problem, as it can be installed as a background system over a vehicle simulator. Should soldiers need to dismount from their vehicle simulator, “STAGE MTS” would provide the necessary technology in order to continue the simulation, showing positions, movements and actions of all the dismounted soldiers.

Also, “STAGE MTS” might also be used for medical purposes: from the assessment of physical rehabilitation therapies, down to identification of posture-related problems of potential recruits. So far, “STAGE MTS” has been conceived as an indoor-tracking system, but its flexibility (it simply takes extra cameras to have a better rendering and to cover a larger area) is likely to permit an upgrade to an outdoor version.

“You can’t take a squad and have them to put on eight sensors all of the time, have a technician to configure all of them, and hope they won’t break them. It’s just too complicated. At the same time, you can’t learn how to fly without flying in a flight simulator, and you’re not going to learn how to drive within a convoy if you have never used a convoy simulator”, Mr. Tschesnok highlights, adding that the same principle can be applied to infantry training. This is the main concept behind “STAGE MTS”: taking infantrymen tracking for training purposes at the same level of realism and flexibility of other simulators currently used by the military.

Lockheed Martin this week announced that it had purchased the Organic Motion STAGE™ Military Tracking System (MTS). The system will be installed at Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support’s Orlando, Fla., office as part of multi-platform simulation and training solutions.

About Francesco F. Milan

Francesco Milan is a PhD student at the War Studies department at King's College, London. Originally from Italy, he is a specialist in Turkish defence issues.

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