It's hard to see when you're driving a tank, particularly when the hatch is closed for combat, but the Norwegian Armed Forces have hacked together a cool new solution using the Oculus Rift. By mounting cameras on the outside of the tank, soldiers were able to create a 360-degree VR feed for the driver. With the Rift, the driver has an unobstructed view of the surroundings, effectively seeing through the body of the tank in what one soldier compared to the vehicle view from a Battlefield game.
It's still just a prototype, but the model already offers a number of advantages to conventional systems. For one, it's cheaper: the demo unit cost roughly $2,000, where a conventional military camera system could easily cost 50 times that. It also opens the door for the kinds of heads-up displays that are common in video games. If the system ever enters proper development, it would be easy to add a transparent panel showing a map of the nearby terrain or giving a readout of the vehicle's basic systems. The unit says the eye strain from the current unit is too great for it to be used as a default, but they expect it to be useful in combat scenarios when the hatch must be kept closed. You can see the rig in action here, courtesy of the Norwegian TV station TuTV.