Police Officers Use Virtual Reality
A virtual reality simulator that was recently created by engineers at the University of Utah, is going to put cops in real world situations to help them learn how to fix situations by utilizing certain body language and tones of voice.
The engineers at the University of Utah thought of the idea when they saw the many cases in the media of shootings involving police throughout the country over the past couple of years.
Jed Merill, engineer, said, “We looked at what was out there and it was kind of like a light switch, it was like ‘shoot or don’t shoot’, is it legal for us to shoot? What we decided is that we want police officers to be thinking more broadly.”
A team of developers along with Jed Merill, started working alongside state law enforcement trainers to create real world police interactions within virtual reality.
When an officer in the simulator, he or she has to go through a home in virtual reality while searching for a suspect that’s in the garage. When the officer confronts the suspect, the suspect stands up and starts to angrily speak to the officer. The simulator is able to sense the tone of voice the officer is using as well as the officer’s hand movements and the simulator then changes the motion of the suspect based on the officer’s tone of voice and hand movements.
Merrill said, “There are a hundred different things they could do when they are on the ground with someone.”
Officers have been using forms or simulated training for a long time now and much of that training has had to do with issues like deescalating situations.
Many of the state certified academies that officers have to go through mix real life training with some form of simulation type weapons so that officers are actually able to fire the weapon simulator at a suspect.
Even though that is already common, the engineers at the University of Utah think that many police agencies will want to purchase the virtual reality simulator since it takes the officer’s training experience to the next level by immersing them in the situation.