Forterra Systems selected to participate in U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research Commercialization Pilot Programme

San Mateo 29 April 2008Forterra Systems, a market and technology specialist in private virtual worlds, has been selected to participate in the new Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Commercialization Pilot Programme (CPP). This fiscal 2008 Army CPP project builds upon previous Phase II SBIR work performed by Forterra in the area of medical simulation training on behalf of the United States Army Medical Research and Materials Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC). This work is supported by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-05-C-0040.


TATRC identifies enabling technologies, matures them into components, integrates those components into simulation-based training systems, and validates them to determine the degree to which they transfer skills learned via simulation to the practice of actual patient care. Forterra's On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment (OLIVE) software platform forms the basis of a distributed virtual environment for training medical first responders, with the potential for rapid transition to operational Army units and commercialization leading to civilian applications of the technology by the larger medical community.

"We are honoured to be selected as a 2008 project for the Army CPP", stated Dr. Mike Macedonia, Vice President and General Manager of Forterra Federal Systems. "Our work on TATRC's SBIR phase II project validated the use of OLIVE and virtual worlds in a First Responder Team Training Application for local and hospital staff. Our selection for Army CPP has the potential to quickly move into Phase III and the acquisition process to meet high priority Army requirements for combat medic training. OLIVE has now reached this level of Army acceptance as a valid training platform."

Forterra's OLIVE platform provides an integrated medical training solution to support the unique and growing requirements of the medical community. With Forterra's OLIVE platform, realistic virtual emergency departments, operating rooms, reception areas, and even entire health care facilities have been built to support a wide range of training applications, including first responder and trauma training. In the United States military, the contemporary operating environment requires combat medics to use their skills in team-based medical combat scenarios for effectively treating trauma patients on the battlefield.

"I am pleased with the track record of the companies in our portfolio who are developing research prototypes for potential transition into the military. Forterra Systems was among 25 firms selected and the only TATRC Phase II SBIR firm from 416 submissions that were considered for the Army CPP", stated Harvey Magee, Technical Director, Medical and Simulation and Training Technology, at TATRC. "We are looking at leveraging the work that has been performed by Forterra to construct realistic military scenarios to improve medical training."

The programme will build upon the Phase II work to provide a robust distributed training platform for medical skills particularly those required in team and Joint Force settings based on multi-users of OLIVE. Among the key programme efforts are:

  • New instructor tools to create lessons supported by the virtual world which will lessen the load on the instructor as an operator and allow the instructor to effectively educate and mentor the students and more easily monitor and replay learning sessions.
  • Exercise Control Tools will be designed, such that instructors can create a more focused and specific trauma scenario to include field and tactical behaviours and the care of patients through the continuum of care.
  • Non-player character (NPC) avatars will be developed whose behaviours are determined by the physiology model plug-in to OLIVE, reducing the need for role-players and presenting standard patient cases for treatment in the virtual world.

Forterra Systems is an expert in providing private, enterprise grade virtual world technology for the corporate, health care, government, education, and entertainment industries. Forterra's software and services enable organisations to train, plan, rehearse, and collaborate using new media technologies integrated into a compelling 3D virtual world. Using the On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment platform and industry standard PC hardware, customers can rapidly generate realistic, collaborative, 3D Internet solutions that easily scale from single user applications to large scale simulated environments supporting many thousands of concurrent users.

Leslie Versweyveld

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