SPOKEN LANGUAGE INTERFACE TO THE LEATHERNET SYSTEM
Battlefield simulation is an area of growing importance for all military services. Giving commanders a natural way to control simulated forces remains a challenge, however. SRI International is addressing this problem by developing CommandTalk, a spoken-language interface that will allow commanders to use natural, spoken English commands to control simulated forces. This technology will reduce costs by providing more efficient training and will improve readiness by providing more realistic training.
A mouse-and-menus interface, although easy to use for simple applications, is akward, slow and difficult to learn for complex command-and-control operations in battlefield simulation systems. Giving a single command to a simulated unit can require performing many mouse clicks and negotiating multiple levels of menus. Spoken language provides a faster, easier-to-learn and far more natural interface for commanders who are already used to giving verbal orders.
CommandTalk is part of LeatherNet, an advanced simulation and training system being developed for the Marine Corps by NRaD. LeatherNet is based on ModSAF, or Modular Semi-Automated Forces, which lets commanders create and control entities on a simulated battlefield. LeatherNet combines
LeatherNet has been installed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.
- MCSF, the Marine Corps version of ModSAF
- CommandVu, a synthetic, data-enhanced environment with 3-D representation of MCSF behaviors and display of commander decision aids
- Terrain Evaluation Module for line-of-sight and weapons coverage analysis
- CommandTalk, the new spoken language interface to the system
CommandTalk allows users to
- Create forces and control measures: "Create an M1 platoon at grid 945 970"
- Assign missions to forces: "First platoon, on my command, advance in a column to Checkpoint 1"
- Modify missions during execution: "Change formation to echelon right"
- Control system functions, such as the display: "Center on Objective Alpha"
The technologies in CommandTalk that enable human language interaction include
- Speaker-independent recognition of continuous speech using the Nuance speech recognizer, a commercially available system based on SRI-developed technology
- Interpretation of recognized utterances by SRI's Gemini natural-language processing system using a task-specific grammar, and translation into MCSF system commands
- Flexible and dynamically reconfigurable communication among the modules of CommandTalk, and between CommandTalk and the rest of LeatherNet, using SRI's Open Agent Architecture
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