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Oculus and Vive Headsets Are Taking Israel's Army Underground

  • Israeli-developed software takes troops through exercises
  • Hamas used tunnels to fight Israel in 2014 Gaza conflict
An Israeli special combat soldier adjusts a VR headset during a training exercise using virtual reality (VR) battlefield technology to simulate Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel at an Israeli Army base in Petach Tikva, Israel, on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. In a refurbished building on a military base in central Israel, soldiers are training in underground combat using headsets made by Oculus, the virtual reality headset maker owned by Facebook Inc., and Vive, owned byHTC Corp.
Photographer: Rina Castelnuovo/Bloomberg

In a refurbished building on a military base in central Israel, soldiers are training in underground combat using headsets made by Oculus, the virtual reality headset maker owned by Facebook Inc., and Vive, owned by HTC Corp.

While it’s not unusual for a military to use virtual reality -- the U.K. Ministry of Defense has been using it in training simulations for more than a decade -- the Israel soldiers are using VR to prepare for Hamas attacks through tunnels that crisscross Israel’s border with Gaza, learning how to navigate the claustrophobic terrain both alone and as a team.