New virtual reality simulation takes you into the US nuclear bunker

Virtual reality simulation - Woman using VR headset

The experience simulates a nuclear attack in which 299 missiles are aimed at the US mainland from Russia.

Nuclear Biscuit, a virtual reality simulation, is providing US officials with the opportunity to react to an artificial missile attack to determine what consequences would result from their decisions.

The experience lets the VR user experience what a US president would need to do in a nuclear crisis.

The Nuclear Biscuit provides a virtual reality simulation in which the VR user is the US president and must react as they would in the event of a nuclear crisis. Decisions must be made immediately, and they will impact millions of people as well as potentially life on the entire planet. The decisions must be made within 15 minutes using incomplete information.

The wearer begins in the Oval Office, in which the muted television showed a report about Russian troop movements. The wearer receives information that the national security advisor was running late for the meeting. Suddenly, an alarm goes off and the “president” is escorted out with a military officer down into the nuclear bunker.

The virtual reality simulation was developed by a Princeton, American and Hamburg universities team.

The team used extensive research to create the VR experience, including conducting interviews with former officials. This allowed them to create an experience in which they could replicate the type of events that would take place if the US believed itself to be under attack from nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Biscuit name was chosen after the small launch authorization codes card the president carries.

Nuclear Biscuit has now been tried in Washington by former officials and by nuclear weapons experts.

“You walk into that simulation and come out a changed person,” said Richard Burt, the American chief negotiator in arms control negotiations held with the Soviet Union following his VR experience with Nuclear Biscuit.

The virtual reality simulation attempts to recreate a situation similar to reality, in which there are deliberate flaws to the president’s capacity to gain all the information and special advice necessary, since the national security advisor is stuck in traffic and the military aide is trained not to speak. In this situation, sole command authority belongs to the US president.

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