US Navy opens iLab to boost submarine innovation

The U.S. Navy has officially opened a new innovation laboratory, aptly shortened to iLab, with a ribbon cutting ceremony held November 7 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The iLab’s mission will be to exploit and leverage low-cost commercial sector research and tools from the computer gaming industry and cellular phone markets to demonstrate cutting-edge battlespace visualization capabilities.

The iLab is outfitted and operated in partnership with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), Battlefield Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) New Training Technologies Program Office.

Rear Adm. Frederick “Fritz” J. Roegge, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s submarine forces (COMSUBPAC), joined industry partners for the ceremony.

Roegge spoke to nearly 50 submarine personnel and thanked those involved in the iLab’s creation.

“I am excited to be here today, and I thank everyone who made today possible,” said Roegge. “I’m delighted by the work of our great partner organizations and their leaders in bringing this innovation lab to fruition. It’s truly a testament to high velocity learning to do it so quickly. It’s imperative that we create an innovative space for our personnel to identify, research, and use emerging technologies to address the Navy’s most pressing challenges.”

“This emerging maker-space is where submariners can prototype low-cost solutions to training and operational problems using cutting edge virtual reality and augmented reality tools. To achieve high velocity learning, we must expand the use of learning-centered technologies and put them in the hands of our greatest asset: our Sailors,” Roegge added.