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Through Screen Optical Head Tracker

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Through Screen Optical Head Tracker
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: F33615-03-M-6348
Award Amount: $99,947.00


Ascension Technology proposes to develop a fast, new six degrees-of-freedom tracker, phasorBIRDTM, immune to cockpit and helmet scatterers of magnetic/electrical field energy. It will integrate seamlessly with training simulators, aircraft, tanks, andcombat air operations centers (CAOCs). Design features will enable it to exceed static accuracy and repeatability of the best magnetic trackers while eliminating the need for elaborate alignment and mapping hardware that significantly impacts logisticalcosts. Development will be based on a research model now returning accuracy of 0.2 mm/0.2¿ RMS. In this project, we will demonstrate scalability and capability in simulators with tiled rear-screen projections as well as feasibility in helmet-mounted NVGsystems. We will first develop and test small, operational camera prototypes and second demonstrate that emitter modules can be made compatible with rear-projection screens. Once fully developed, the tracker will overcome performance and applicabilitylimits caused by bulky, obstructive emitters and lens-based cameras that interfere with human motion, cockpit layout, and ingress/egress. The military will benefit in that the technology can be evolved to high volume commercial (real-time visualizationsystems, augmented reality systems etc) as well as helmet-display applications -- thus amortizing manufacturing costs over large volumes for increased affordability and lowering life-cycle costs. PhasorBIRD provides a tracker technology that has highpotential for head and body tracking in the private sector and DOD.1. Is capable of high update rates and high dynamic accuracy.2. Simplifies helmet and cockpit integration design.3. Is compatible with military training simulators and cockpit environments such as those found in the WST, F/A-22 and JSF.4. Requires simple and relatively low power electrical interfaces.5. Can be evolved to high volume manufacturing techniques, and has relatively low maintenance and life-cycle-costs.Private sectorPrimary commercial markets for next-generation tracker:¿ Real-time visualization systems employing head/hand tracking to interact with immersive and wide-screen displays (e.g., VR design, prototyping and visualization of large graphical data sets). Such data is displayed interactively on devices rangingindividual headsets to multi-wall projections systems.¿ Simulation and training system developed by contractors for military and commercial land and air vehicles. Although current magnetic, optical and hybrid trackers are often used in these systems, emerging requirements -- such as AFRL's weapon systemtrainer with wraparound display -- demand unobtrusive tracking, not hindered by metallic content, close quarters, and/or environmental noise.¿ Augmented reality (AR) systems. In this emerging market, there is a hard requirement for extremely fast, low latency tracking to overlay virtual instructions on real-world objects. To do this, a user's head and/or hands must be tracked to provide areal-time registration of the virtual data on the real-world object. AR has not advanced beyond research projects due, in part, to the lack of

Principal Investigator:

Don Odell
Senior Design Engineer

Business Contact:

Jack Scully
VP, New Business Developm
Small Business Information at Submission:

107 Catamount Drive Milton, VT 05468

EIN/Tax ID: 030301316
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No