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High-tech, high-touch training: Virtual Mission Board

The Virtual Mission Board

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The Virtual Mission Board is helping the U.S. Army bring training preparation and execution into the 21st century.

The Virtual Mission Board is helping change the way the U.S. Army trains.

A deployable, 55-inch touch-screen display system, the VMB operates the same as a smart phone or tablet. With colorful 3D graphics, the board can recreate terrains and cityscapes exactly as they appear in reality.

The board replaces the need for paper maps and elaborate models that often required an entire room to display. Participants are immersed in a virtual representation of the training environment before they ever step foot on the battlefield.

For instance, soldiers practicing "fires training" can input artillery shell trajectories into the board and quickly assess how an intervening hill or other impediment could hinder the mission. They can also evaluate how artillery might affect intervening air support.

The VMB, currently in use at Fort Sill, Okla., and other bases around the country, is not limited to military applications. The deployable, touch-screen board’s planning, tracking and review capabilities make it a useful device for training and security in various buildings and airports.