The Media Convergence Laboratory explored the application of immersive and intuitive MR simulation to capture and evaluate participant behavior and capabilities within complex terrains. This next generation technology is rapidly expanding training capability, and we wanted to understand more about the next generation talent that will be using this emerging technology. This study tested youth ages 11-18 in two gaming environments - desktop, and immersive mixed reality with a head-mounted display. For those youth without considerable gaming experience, we asked whether the mixed reality environment allowed them to more quickly get up to speed on the game challenge itself, rather than spending time learning a the computer/mouse interface. This scenario presented a game to pass the time in the lunar colony for children living there in the year 2100. In an abandoned, older part of the colony, they created Lunar Lunge, and built a robotic team to play against.
The results of the study were illuminating in that they did not show that the mixed reality environment allowed nongamers to get up to speed on the challenge quicker. But what the mixed reality environment did demonstrate was that the mixed reality environment erased any delta in using that immersive environment and allowed both gamers and nongamers to equally move ahead in their understanding of navigating a physical environment as part of the scenario. The clear impact on military training that can be gleaned from this research is that mixed reality has a role in training once trainees understand the basic mission and tasks they will be undertaking, and are then challenged with a chaotic, changing environment where they must use that knowledge to be successful in their mission.