The Norwegian Army is currently testing the use of the Oculus Rift VR goggles in tanks, and the results so far are encouraging.
Without the aid of virtual technology, a tank operator’s field of view is surprisingly limited, even in the most modern tanks. Using Oculus Rift’s technology; however, a driver’s range of view is significantly expanded. With cameras strategically placed around the tank’s exterior, a driver wearing VR goggles and sitting inside the hatch has only to turn his or her head to see through the entire body of the vehicle.
The prototype itself costs around $2,000, a far less expensive alternative compared to current tank viewing systems that can cost upwards of $100,000.
Although the proposed cost of the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift VR system would certainly entice most modern militaries to adopt this technology, one serious flaw to the new VR setup is eye strain, with studies showing that prolonged use of Oculus Rift while driving any vehicle can cause considerable eye fatigue. If this technology were to be incorporated today, then the VR goggles would have to be periodically set aside during combat.
You can see the whole rig in action (video with English subtitles) HERE
Using similar technology, the US military is testing and developing active camouflage cloaking devices for tanks and other armored vehicles. The results so far are quite impressive. A nearly invisible tank on the outside, combined with the ability of the driver to see through the tank as though it’s not there, makes for a formidable tool of destruction.