April 27, 2019 – HTX Labs, LLC, a creator of immersive training and simulation programs, has announced that it is a recent recipient of a US Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award. The award provides funding for the continued development of training simulations (built on HTX Labs’ EMPACT Virtual Reality platform) that are designed to enhance student understanding, retention and mastery of military procedures and protocols.
According to the Air Force, “The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and AFWERX, the Air Force’s newly-formed innovation arm, have partnered to streamline the SBIR process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, the Air Force has begun offering ‘Special’ SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of solutions.”
The SBIR Phase I award follows successful deployments of VR-based programs by HTX previously initiated for the Air Force’s ‘Pilot Training Next’ (PTN) program, and provides a fast-track mechanism for any branch of the military to work directly with the Houston-based company on training simulations. Additionally, the award provides the ability for continued development of immersive technology that leverages artificial intelligence, advanced biometrics and analytics to systematically and objectively measure the effectiveness of a training program by comparing an aggregate of students or a single student against an expert or a group of experts performing the exact same set of tasks.
Through immersive, hands-on simulations, students learn the necessary skills to perform their job in a safe and controlled environment that allows them to experience a life-like situation that may otherwise be impossible or unsafe to create in real-life. For example, the PTN program tests a student pilot’s ability to respond and initiate emergency procedures under the distress of various hazardous conditions that might take place in a Beechcraft T-6A cockpit.
“HTX has provided us an immersive emergency procedure trainer that filled an essential gap in our pilot training program. They are a responsive and attentive company, that have been great to work with” commented Paul Vicars, Lead for the PTN program for the US Air Force.
“We are honored to be a SBIR Phase I Select company, and are excited to help the Air Force train the aviator of the future,” said Scott Schneider, Co-Founder and CEO of HTX Labs. “The ability for a startup to work with any branch of the military based on the SBIR process is a tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to developing simulations that improve student responsiveness and accuracy to situations that are inherently dangerous. We want to keep our military personnel safe, and immersive training plays a big role in meeting that objective.”
Video credit: HTX Labs/YouTube