HTX Labs awarded SBIR Phase II contract by US Air Force to expand its EMPACT immersive training platform

In Virtual Reality News

December 3, 2021 – HTX Labs, a provider of immersive learning solutions, has this week announced that it has been awarded a new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract by the US Air Force’s 821 Contingency Response Squadron (CRS).

According to HTX Labs, the SBIR contract seeks to further expand the company’s EMPACT immersive training platform to better enable the development, creation, deployment, and measurement of realistic, immersive environments and interactive, virtual training content in support of rapid global mobility operations for the 821 CRS.

CRS teams provide highly skilled, adaptable Airmen, ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 12 hours. From wartime taskings to disaster relief like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, the 821 CRS extends the US Air Force Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) reach to deploying people, equipment, and airpower to locations where air infrastructure may not exist.

“The Air Force needs a more effective way to train and plan for Contingency Response missions, particularly in the hands of expeditionary units at the tactical level. The capability to rapidly create large-scale, geospatially accurate virtual environments will be a game-changer for mission planning and preparedness,” said MSgt Bryan K Rodvold, USAF AMC 321 AMOS/DOP.

A virtual version of Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, US.

HTX Labs stated that its primary goal with the project is to adapt its EMPACT Immersive Learning Platform to enable Airmen to rapidly create large-scale, geospatially accurate virtual environments, augment and annotate those environments with 3D objects and other digital media, and save and publish these environments for use in mission planning. 

Airmen will then be able to leverage these environments using EMPACT Studio’s self-authoring content creation tools to create real-world contingency response scenarios for training, and then perform repeatable, hands-on training in safe, highly immersive virtual environments that replicate remote or austere locations not easily accessible in the real world. By adapting its EMPACT platform, HTX Labs hopes to help further accelerate the competence and contingency response readiness of USAF’s Airmen.

Chris Verret, CTO & Co-Founder at HTX Labs, commented: “HTX Labs is excited to take on this new challenge to aid the 821 CRS with their mission to provide expeditionary airfield operations within an extremely tight time frame. Our main objective with this SBIR award is to allow end-users to pull large-scale, geospatially accurate virtual environments into our EMPACT Platform. When paired with EMPACT’s immersive content authoring tools, this capability will support just-in-time mission training — allowing for the delivery of the right training at the right time to the Airmen who need it.”

He continued, “We’re looking at integrating technologies like Microsoft’s Azure Maps to generate geospatial environments from GIS / Satellite terrain imagery and data. These adaptations to EMPACT will support the mission of the 821 CRS relative to training and preparation for expeditionary airfield operations for humanitarian aid or wartime operations.”

For more information on HTX Labs and its EMPACT immersive training solution, please visit the company’s website.

Image / video credit: HTX Labs / YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.