Atlantis Cyberspace, Inc. (ACI) has selected a FusionPro+ 1RU MultiViewer from Zandar Technologies as a key component in its Immersive Group Simulation (IGS) system for military personnel training and assessment. The FusionPro+ is being used to display multiple video sources in the ‘Mission Control' area of the IGS based in Florida, USA.
"IGS provides high-quality graphics and virtual realism for up to 64 individuals in the same synthetic environment, and can be used to train military ground forces, convoy operations, law-enforcement personnel, counter-terrorism and security forces, fire fighters, and emergency responders," explains John T. Boyd of Atlantis Cyberspace.
"Because of the critical nature of military training, the mission operator must have the ability to monitor what each trainee sees and does inside the virtual world. In the past, this meant that the actions of each trainee were displayed on a dedicated analog monitor installed in the Mission Control rack. As systems grew in size, the need to multiplex several signals from the training platforms onto a single LCD for viewing by the mission commander became a necessity."
This is where Zandar's FusionPro+ solution came into its own, as Boyd explains: "In our research, we found a variety of low-end ‘multiplexers' designed for the security market, but as connections were typically provided through a BNC connector, the end resolution of the display was not adequate for our needs. The Zandar Fusion Pro+ 1RU with the Zandar Dual Head ZdH option not only allowed us to multiplex and manually control several DVI inputs/outputs, it allowed us to display the signals at a full 1280x1024 resolution, rather than at NTSC or lower signal outputs."
ACI's first installation using Zandar hardware saw the company ship a five-Pod mobile system complete with four 19-inch flat-panel displays, which allowed a variety of switchable display options to be set up using the intuitive Z-Configurator software. Boyd says that the FusionPro+ interface not only allowed great flexibility, it also facilitated setup in just a few hours.
"The resolution, flexibility, and ease of use provided by the FusionPro+ has allowed us to eliminate the older bulky broadcast monitors previously used in our Mission Control console, and has given us a variety of new options for displaying high-res mission video that we previously did not have, or could not achieve due to space constraints," adds Boyd.
Deirdre Smith, CEO at Zandar Technologies, comments: "Immersive simulations for the military depend on the highest-quality image rendition and manipulation for them to be effective. We are delighted that FusionPro+ has been selected for such a demanding application as IGS, and that the product has proven itself not only for quality but also for cost effectiveness, space efficiency, and user friendliness."
ACI offers the IGS in both fixed and mobile platforms. A mobile IGS is provided in standard 40-ft air/sea a container complete with power and HVAC, and may include up to five VR Pods and Mission Control in a single container. Alternatively, multiple containers can be networked either locally or remotely over the internet. Either way, space is clearly at a premium in such an application.
"With IGS, up to 64 trainees may be networked onto a single mission via a fully integrated VR ‘Pod', which is a forced-feedback training platform. The Pods are connected to the modular Mission Control console, which contains the rack mounted hardware and administrative computers/servers that allow the mission operator to launch and monitor individual and group missions on multiple LCDs and plasma displays, replay missions, and access a complete stats and graphs package used in the After Action Review (AAR) process, where trainees are graded and critiqued on their performance."
"Our Mission Control network typically includes up to four rack mount LCDs for monitoring group/individual missions, for monitoring a Virtual Camera (VCam) which follows and records the action inside the mission (virtual world), and to provide playback functions for the After Action Review (AAR)," Boyd continues.
"Included on this network are typically one or two large plasma displays for monitoring, observation, and mission commander critique of the AAR during playback."
The last word goes to ACI's Boyd, who believes this is only the start of a fruitful long-term partnership between his company and Zandar: "In our widespread search for a video processing solution for our IGS system, we have found the Zandar Fusion Pro+ to be best in class for ease of use, display capability and resolution, options and upgrades, and technical support. Zandar is providing absolute state-of-the-art technology, highly configurable, and at price points significantly less than other video processing solutions on the market today. In just a short time, Zandar has earned a position as a prized supplier and key partner as we move forward towards larger scale and more complex IGS systems."