Virtual reality headsets are still a little ways out from reaching mainstream consumer adoption, but they’re certainly finding use in more and more unexpected places. For example: The British Army has begun a new recruitment drive that uses the Oculus Rift to put users inside a tank during a live fire exercise. The headset is just part of an elaborate set up that aims to have people feel like they are truly riding in a heavily armored vehicle. The first such recruitment demonstrations for the public began on Friday in London.
Before putting on the virtual reality headset, potential recruits are placed behind the wheel of a Range Rover. This is to add to the effect of feeling like being in a Challenger 2 tank, as opposed to sitting in an office chair at desk.
The simulation puts users in the boots of one of several crewmen on a tank on Salisbury Plain, with other tanks nearby. Those wearing the Oculus Rift are communicating with soldiers on other friendly vehicles, while engaging and firing on enemy positions. For those who haven’t yet made it to a recruitment demonstration, the British Army even released a promo commercial to promote the Oculus Rift experience.
As a recruitment tool, the campaign was developed by the Army’s training division, in partnership with London virtual reality experts Visualise, and the JWT advertising agency. This certainly isn’t the first time militaries have adopted popular technology for use in recruitment efforts; we’ve seen video games in the past, but will virtual reality, with its claim of putting users into life-like situations, result in an increase of people signing up for combat training?