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The best radiation detector training is conducted with real radioactive sources and real detectors. However, regulations on the transport and deployment of radioactive material severely limit the locations in which radiation training can be performed. Plus, military and first responder personnel often do not have unlimited access to the radiation detectors that would be issued during a real-world emergency. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) created the Virtual Radiation Training through Ubiety System (VIRTUS) to provide realistic, low-cost training by leveraging Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) mobile computation capabilities. VIRTUS is a suite of Android apps, and it can run on most Android phones and tablets.
Simulated dose rates and other measurements are determined based on the Android device's GPS position. Additionally, Bluetooth beacons have been integrated as surrogate radiation sources, facilitating indoor operations and increased accuracy. Nuclear fallout environments are modeled using standard industry codes. The user interfaces and approximations for the physical behaviors of the Canberra UltraRadiac™ (AN/UDR-13/14/15), the Thermo Scientific RadEye™ PRD-ER, PackEye™, FLIR Systems IdentiFINDER™, and NucSafe MPDS were incorporated into VIRTUS, and additional detectors are planned.
(Please note that VIRTUS 1.0 has been released)
VIRTUS stands for the VIrtual Radiation Training through Ubiety System. Ubiety is "the state of being placed in a definite local relation." Ubiety is foundational to the VIRTUS methodology. Whether through GPS or Bluetooth beacons, VIRTUS determines the relative positioning, or ubiety, of radiation sources and detectors. With this information, detector responses can be simulated.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is the Department of Defense agency that provides chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and hi-explosive (CBRNE) technical advice, assistance, and support to the Secretary of Defense, the Services, and Combatant Commanders. Conceived in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s J9 directorate, VIRTUS intends to overcome many of the shortfalls of simulation support to training in general, and radiation training specifically. The Roman solider embodies this ethos with virtus. In Ancient Rome, virtus was a discrete virtue, and it combined the modern concepts of valor, courage, and character. These are values of the United States military and first responders, who comprise the VIRTUS user community.
The following devices have been tested with VIRTUS. Other devices may or may not fully function.
Samsung Galaxy S5 (in testing)
HTC One M8x (in testing)
HTC One M8 (in testing)
Nexus 7 (partial functionality; no beacon support)
Moto X (Gen 1) (partial functionality; no beacon support)