The cybersecurity center may be virtual, but the $25,000 in cash it won is not.
The Cybersim Holodeck from George Washington University won the grand prize in the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge, an annual contest to create innovative virtual training or analysis programs that is sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation and Technology Training Center.
Researchers created the holodeck by combining the Second Life virtual world with Layar augmented reality. They also used an array of inexpensive devices such as a Microsoft Xbox Kinect and an Emotiv thought-controlled headset. The result was a virtual workspace that flesh-and-blood cybersecurity analysts can use to do their jobs.
While Cybersim Holodeck took home the grand prize, 11 other finalists received $1,000 to $5,000 awards.
The winner of the Familiarization category was the U.S. Air Force Academy Virtual Campus Tour — Orientation Learning from Designing Digitally Inc. The virtual world is used as a recruiting tool by the Air Force Academy to conduct prospective students on a virtual tour.
Up to 1,000 students can log in for a taste of academy life by joining in virtual parachuting, basketball, hockey and, of course, a flight simulator. Because it is browser-based and cloud-hosted, users do not have to download software on to their computers, according to Designing Digitally President Andrew Hughes. The virtual world allows AI to guide tours, though content management features allow the academy to track and customize content for users. The virtual world cost about $500,000 to develop, Hughes said.
Another finalist was the Canadian Virtual Naval Fleet — Navy Learning Support Center, which allows sailors to practice their skills in a virtual recreation before they are assigned to the actual ship. Developers created virtual Victoria-class submarines and Kingston-class coastal defense vessels, and other ship classes under development.