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GL Studio Puts Simulators On The Desktop

Sophisticated Desktop Environments

  • November 27, 2006
  • By Rob Reilly

In the latest multi-million dollar training simulators, pilots get to shoot the bad guys out of the virtual sky, while infantry men practice driving their vehicles over virtual desert terrain.

Today's sophisticated virtual trainers immerse the soldier in ever more realistic combat situations. Simulators save equipment for the real thing and ensure that a trainee can make mistakes and still be around to learn from the experience.

What about all the people behind the lines servicing equipment, testing systems, or performing dangerous, life-threatening jobs?

Just as in pilot and armored vehicle training, the trend to use expensive actual hardware, for today's maintenence and service training programs is being reduced in the military community.

DiSTI's GL Studio package lets the instructional designer integrate photo-realistic objects into their simulations that react just like the real parts. The parts influence the performance of the systems and can accurately behave according to the laws of nature. Unscrew an important connector from a simulated jet engine and it will stop running.

GL Studio is a Object Oriented (OO)-based tool that can use photos, as well as 2D and 3D models. The object code is not only standards based, but human readable, thereby encouraging re-use and rapid prototyping. Models, parts, and assemblies can be inventoried and used in multiple projects.

Just about anything can be simulated with GL Studio objects. During an on-site visit I saw one trainer, that walks the user through wiring up a PC to a monitor, mouse, and printer. The monitor even showed the Microsoft XP desktop.

Another simulation modeled an entire F-18 jet aircraft. Access panels on the sides could be removed to show the underlying avionics modules. Modules could be removed and reinstalled. You could even use a simulated Fluke multi-tester to measure operating voltages and test components. All this from the comfort of a desktop PC and monitor.

The simulations aren't slow or jerky, either. In testing, display refresh rates have been in the neighborhood of 1000 frames per second.

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