Tech

Navy Develops Helmet For Augmented Reality Underwater

By Victor Thomson , Jun 06, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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U.S. Navy researchers have developed a futuristic high-tech helmet for underwater personnel. The helmet comes with an augmented reality (AR) enabled display.

Tech Times reports that the device features design inspired from the world of sci-fi. Navy's augmented reality helmet aims to increase the efficiency and safety of divers in the line of duty.

Neoprene gloves hinder precision, while standard diving masks narrow down the field of view. The Navy acknowledged their needs and developed an underwater head-up display (HUD) prototype that eliminates the need for a smartwatch display.

The new AR diving helmet allows divers to tap into sonar data and check their location. The device can make the work of professional divers easier and more streamlined.

According to Ars Technica, augmented reality displays have already been used by the military for decades. However, their usage has been confined traditionally to the Air Force. They have been used in aircraft cockpits in the form of "heads up" displays, as well, has been integrated more recently directly into helmets.

AR technology can give pilots the ability to look through the aircraft and see the ground below them and the skies around them. But with the new diver helmet developed by the engineers at the U.S. Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), now augmented reality is going underwater.

The built-in "heads up" display can locate the objects divers are looking for, guide them to where they need to be and even "see" in near-zero visibility. The device called Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVID) is presented on U.S. Navy's website.

DAVID is similar to other augmented reality displays used in the industrial fields such as maintenance and aircraft manufacturing.

According to the U.S. Navy, the helmet can display data transmitted from a boat above and high-resolution sonar imagery overlaid on the environment around the diver. The project is led by Dennis Gallagher, Underwater Systems Development Project Engineer. The first underwater tests are scheduled for October.

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