Scenario Planning and Effects Control System

Extensible technology suite puts the sights, sounds, and smells of conflict in the hands of training instructors, allowing them to create immersive training environments

Software & Information Technology Military Technology

Navy scientists have built a software tool for managing complex training scenarios. Known as the Scenario Planning and Effects Control System (SPECS), the software enables instructors to provide detailed and repeatable immersive training scenarios by defining combinations of cause and effect, time, and manual trigger actions between various types of sensor and environmental stimuli for increased training effectiveness, trainee immersion, and reduced instructor workload.

The 2017 Army Reserve Best Warrior winners and runners-up clear a house of enemy combatants in a simulated urban raid using electronic targets and effects. (Calvin Reimold/Army)

The system has a robust plug-in capability to add various battlefield and special effects such as smoke and smell generation equipment through common protocols and can be integrated with after-action review systems to support event-based remediation.

Of particular value to the training experience, the system’s audio distribution engine is capable of simultaneous streaming of sound effects to any user-defined speaker location or time synchronized group of speaker locations within the training environment utilizing real-time mixing of source files. SPECS scalability adapts to law enforcement training facilities consisting of one or two rooms to military tactical training areas that spread across miles.

Since 2013, more than 100,000 law enforcement personnel and tens of thousands of warfighters have participated in this immersive training. SPECS is a component of the U.S. Army Live Training Transformation architecture.

While this technology has tremendous benefit to military and law enforcement training, extended applications may include first responder training. It may also be used to add a dynamic aspect to entertainment experiences such as haunted houses and exhibit tours.

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