The US Army is using the latest augmented-reality computer programs to educate and attract new recruits. Embodied in the "ArmyRace for Strength" program, recently on exhibit at major NASCAR and NHRA events, including NASCAR's Daytona International, virtual drivers have an opportunity to direct racer Ryan Newman's No. 39 US Army Chevrolet Impala NASCAR Sprint Cup car to the front of a military convoy. In addition, a downloadable version at www.goarmy.com/raceforstrength allows Internet vistors to test their driving skills and compete against their friends.
The game is one of the first practical uses of augmented reality, which combines real-world activities with computer-generated graphic environments. Virtual drivers use a palm card (received upon registration at exhibition events or printed when downloading the online program) to control the US Army Chevrolet via a web camera as it weaves through a convoy of speeding Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Stryker AV vehicles. Professional race-car driver Ryan Newman provides commentary during the 45 seconds of game play to help drivers achieve their mission.
According to Colonel Derik W. Crotts, Director of Strategic Marketing and Outreach for the US Army Accessions Command, "Many young Americans may not be aware of the wide variety of opportunities available to them in the US Army. Education, hightech training and leadership development are just a few of the options available in the Army. The Army provides access to more of these than any other organization. This new computer technology will allow today's youth to experience the diverse elements of the Army, and demonstrate the elite technology and training used to develop our Army Strong Soldiers."