Lincoln Laboratory's Sensorimotor Technology Realization in Immersive Virtual Environments (STRIVE) Center is an approximately 4000 ft2 research facility located in Billerica, Massachusetts, about six miles away from the main Laboratory complex.
At the center of STRIVE is a 24-foot virtual reality dome, the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN). In this dome, a user experiences immersion, or the feeling of being present in a simulated world. The user can interact with the environment, which is displayed on a screen that wraps 360 degrees around them, while walking on a 6-degrees-of-freedom motion platform that mimics the environment's terrain. A motion-capture system measures and analyzes the user's movements in real time. The CAREN High-End model installed at the STRIVE Center is one of only three like it in the world.
The facility allows Laboratory staff to collaborate with clinical, academic, and government communities on new research. In the area of clinical research, Laboratory staff work with clinicians to study patients' cognitive and physical performances and to test rehabilitation techniques. For training purposes, the CAREN system is a valuable tool to push soldiers or first responders to their limits in a realistic yet simulated scenario. The data collected from these interactions can help commanders plan more effective and safe missions in the field. The STRIVE Center also offers researchers a facility in which they can assess prototype technology — such as wearable sensors, heads-up displays, or robotic exoskeletons — in a realistic environment before its transition to the real world.