Space Force Using Holodeck-like VR For Medical Training

SimX secures a $2.5M contract with the Air Force and Space Force.

The VR company SimX has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force—yes, the U.S. Space Force—to develop VR training programs for special operations forces that will focus primarily on enhancing current medical training systems for both divisions.

The program will yield four individual contracts totaling over $1.5 million dollars, which is part of a $2.5 million dollar research and development program cleverly referred to as “Virtual Advancement of Learning and Operational Readiness (VALOR),” with funds being allocated to adapt SimX’s VR medical simulation platform so it can be used during aerial and space operations with both the Air Force and the Space Force.

The goal of the partnership is to enable the special operations medical personnel of the 24th Special Operations Wing (SOW)’s Special Tactic operators to “train how they fight.” This includes pararescuemen and combat controllers as well as the special unit’s medics and the Special Operations Surgical Teams.

Image Credit: SimX

Both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force will receive Tactical Combat Casualty Care based experience as well as standard medical training across the continuum of care in various medical roles. Any newly developed processes will be fielded for operational testing and evaluation at the existing SimX deployments at installations across the U.S. as well as the USAF installation in Europe and Asia. 

SimX’s VR medical training platform—recognized around the world by institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania to name a few—allows individuals to train together in a multiplayer “holodeck-like” experience. The VR training doesn’t use dropdown menus or prompts. Instead, you interact with virtual patients the same way you would in a real-life scenario. Basically, the training replicates the real-world stress operators may face in the field while reinforcing relevant medical techniques, tactics, and protocols through a learn-by-doing process.

“The practice of medicine depends on high performance teams working together fluidly and transferring knowledge and responsibility rapidly, efficiently, and effectively,” said Karthik V. Sarma, VALOR Principal Investigator and Chief Technology Officer at SimX, in an official press release, adding, “The USAF and USSF’s continued investment in the VALOR program will enable us to continue to push the envelope of VR medical training by ensuring that we can train for these critical interactions.”

Image Credit: United States Space Force

The VALOR program was conceived to bolster overall medical capabilities and improve the survival rate of individuals injured during combat. Col. John R Dorsch, Wing Surgeon of the 24th Special Operations Wing and medical director of the Air Force’s Pararescue career field, sees the value in VALOR, saying, “Expanding and innovating capabilities is critical for ensuring the highest level of combat trauma and austere medical care is provided by special operators and medical personnel.” 

Dorsch envisions the program stretching out beyond the 24th SOW’s units that are stationed around the country. According to Dorsch, SimX’s VR medical training program will be used at the new Special Operations Center for Medical Integration and Development (SOCMID); a collaboration between the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the U.S. Air Force that is focused on seeking out the next generation of standardized training for Special Operations Surgical Team members, pararescuemen, and independent duty medical technicians. 

To learn more about SimX and their VR work visit

Feature Image Credit: U.S. Air Force (Tech. Sgt. Sandra Welch)

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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