How Hollywood helps the military prepare for foreign tours

Just outside Los Angeles there's an office park that hosts one of the Department of Defense's secrets — the IED Battle Drill. The creation of a company called RL Leaders, whose boss, Richard Lindheim was once a big cheese in the TV industry, the IEDBD is an experience that teaches soldiers what to expect in the event of being hit by an improvised explosive device.

A 270-degree theater-quality screen with a 7-1 sound system, and a Humvee perched atop a hydraulic system makes the IEDBD a cross between a giant, super high-production video game and a flight or crash simulator. Just as in Hollywood, scripts were prepared for several scenarios, rather like a video game, so that each action the soldiers make determines what happens next.

It couldn't be more realistic: if there's an explosion, the Hummer fills with smoke; there is clever sound editing to simulate a ringing in the ears; and you can experience up to 8 Gs of force. The IEDBD is off to Fort Eustis some time before Christmas so that troops on their way to the Middle East can get a flavor of what could be waiting for them. Click on the link below for the full story, by Alissa Walker.

(Disclosure: I'm filling in for the tech correspondent on Fast Company this week, which is how I came across this fascinating report.)

Via Fast Company