VR Parachute

As AR/VR struggles to gain adopters in consumer applications, the military has quietly but aggressively deployed mixed reality technologies in training and on the battlefield. Over the last couple years, Army soldiers have been learning urban combat techniques in so-called Synthetic Training Environments that accurately reflect foreign cities while tactical augmented reality has made its way into helmets and military vehicles.

According to a recent report titled "Military Augmented Reality Market to 2025," the AR/VR defense market will be worth $1.79 billion by 2025, up from $511 million last year. At that rate of growth, the military is one of the early sectors to fulfill the hype of commercial mixed reality.

The reasons have to do with the growing cost efficiency AR/VR and the simultaneous difficulty of simulating combat realistically using tangible assets.

"Faced with emerging threats, readiness gaps, and ongoing budget challenges, military organizations are embracing commercial technologies to support simulation and training," John Burwell, VP of Business Development at Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a VR company serving the defense market, told me.

The defense industry, it turns out, is harnessing advances first made in gaming. BISim uses game-based technology to develop low cost training and simulation software products. The products boast many of the same technical aspects you'd find in popular video games, such as "whole-earth rendering" and "pre-programmed AI behaviors."