A Phase III SBIR award by the CCDC SC, this project utilizes multi-sensory experiential lessons within the Synthetic Training Environment and improves accessibility to soldiers with limited medical experience.

January 31, 2023 – (Orlando, FL): Mick Golson, Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS) president, announced that the company has been awarded a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project for Military Working Dog (MWD) Casualty Care in Virtual Reality by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command – Soldier Center (CCDC SC). ECS will be adding canine (K9) interventions in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Simulation (TC3Sim) in an effort to allow soldiers with limited medical expertise to train for hands-on medical and veterinary practices.

This project will enhance existing training with multisensory experiential lessons that cover training scenarios that are not otherwise readily accessible in existing TCCC, Combat LifeSaver (CLS), veterinary care, K9 trauma manikins, or other training scenarios. In addition, a larger audience of soldiers with non-related military occupational specialties (MOS) may be exposed to TCCC, Canine TCCC (K9TCCC), and MWD training.

Golson says: “This increased accessibility enables soldiers with limited medical experience to train hands-on for specific medical and veterinary care procedures in order to recognize injuries and to apply treatment before they become more critical. We are proud to continue our work within the SBIR program and to potentially save more lives by enhancing this type of training.”

The ECS team will also improve upon the use of haptic devices in support of TCCC and integrate these devices within the current TC3Sim Synthetic Training Environment utilizing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. In doing so, trainees will benefit from realistic and anatomically accurate tactile feedback from haptic devices and build muscle memory and self-efficacy for better retention of the training.

In related research projects, ECS has developed a minimally viable prototype using TC3Sim for the MWD role which includes a medium detail K9 asset in a battlefield environment that can move and show onset of a heat stroke. The handler can interact with the canine and perform basic interventions by menu commands to identify and prevent the heat stroke. This prototype is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5.

The tasks related to this Phase III project should be completed by July 2023.