The U.S. Armed Forces Are Going To Use Video Games To Teach Sailors Sexual Assault Prevention

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The United States are about to start utilizing a technology already being used by the Australian government to train and educate soldiers. While the interactive video game may be used for a wide variety of training, the Navy is thinking of using it to teach sailors about preventing sexual assault. I wonder if this gives gamers in the military an unfair advantage in passing their training? 

Sexual assault within the U.S. Armed Forces has been a hot button topic for a while so is it any wonder the government has started thinking outside the box?

CNSnews.com discusses the Navy’s plans, “The Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is giving $83,000 to a game and animation company to develop ‘Avatar Based Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training.’ The company, Organic Motion, Inc., already produces video games for the military, mostly to develop combat readiness.”

The company uses motion capture technology to create their live scenarios. From their website:

The role-player steps into a capture portal and is projected as a high definition LIVE digital character into a live training scenario in real-time. No need to pre-record branching video or animated scenes. The digitally animated character’s movement, speech and gestures exactly mimic the role-player and facilitate an interactive two-way dialogue in a natural and intuitive manner. This is not a recorded character but an actual live person interacting with trainees who view that person as any intended digital character. LIVE uses the latest voice modulation software, projection and targeting technology to create a completely immersive training capability.

You can watch an example of the regular combat training here (warning: some graphic content). According to the official contract (check out the full PDF), this is how it will work:

The system developed by the Contractor will not use pre-programed branching scenarios to determine the responses for the avatar. It will instead animate a human agent/inhabitor using a hardware/software interface, which streams live across the internet. The system shall allow a subject matter expert to determine the appropriate response to both verbal and non-verbal cues so that the student receives improved feedback regarding their actions. It shall also provide the ability to change characters (gender, race) and environments facilitating greater student engagement. Avatars will be uniform in their ability to convey emotion through verbal and nonverbal (facial and body gestures) cues, possessing the level of realism required to create engaging interactive learning sessions.

As of right now, the project is just  in the pilot stage to determine if its use would be beneficial to a wider audience. Recruit Division Commanders, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, and SAPR Victim Advocates at the Naval Service Training Command located in Great Lakes, Illinois will be testing it first.

(via GameSpot)

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."