Murphy's Law: Video Games and Real Combat


December31, 2006: The American military likes to test and survey new recruits, to see what talents they already have. One of the most amazing (to the brass) findings was that the average recruit now comes in with several thousand hours of time playing video games. Hmmm, interesting skill set. It took a few years for the military to find out how to make use of this. Actually, the troops themselves demonstrated their special abilities, by quickly adapting to certain types of equipment, like fire control systems, and UAVs. Before long, companies that built micro-UAVs (weighing under ten pounds), realized that the best format for the controller was that used by video games. So now, the controllers used to operate these micro-UAVs often look like video game controllers, with a small video screen built in. For the larger UAVs, new controller equipment is appearing, which obviously borrows a lot of the "look and feel", not to mention functionality, from video game software. This approach works, and it cuts training time a lot. Before this, UAV controllers were using PC software that depended a lot on a keyboard and mouse. This was not the sort of thing video gamers were used to. Indeed, keyboard and mouse were a pretty lame interface for something as hectic as running a UAV. The keyboard and mouse angle came from the engineers who developed the controller software. Yeah, OK, for developing software, but not for actually operating the UAV under combat conditions. The military is now keeping a close watch on developments in video game interface hardware and software.


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close