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Next Generation Aviation Helmet Mounted Display

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform 

OBJECTIVE: Propose and develop next generation day Heads Up Display (HUD) capable of accepting an external video signal and projecting that video on an aviator helmet visor. 

DESCRIPTION: The current day HUD tested by the Army overlays data on vision, but forces the wearer to change his focal point when looking at the symbology vs looking at his environment, and has a limited field of view. A new HUD technology which creates a projected image so that it appears at the same focal distance of your eyes as the environment around the user is needed and allows a much greater field of view. A greater field of view will allow more symbology on the HUD display without interfering with direct line of sight or distracting the pilots. Number one complaint with current system is the inability to declutter enough symbols, which is directly linked to the 2nd complaint, reduced field of view (Final Test Report, Air Soldier System, Developmental Test for the CH-47F, May 2017, ATEC Project No. 2017-DT-RTC-AIRSS-G5960). Multiple companies are working on commercial HUD products for motorcycle helmets which can project symbology such as moving map display, instrument gages, and an interface for the motorcycle radio which is easy to use without taking eyes off the road. These new products are very light since crash standards for weight on a motorcycle helmet are very similar to Army aviation crash requirements. Projecting the display symbols on the visor have other advantages. As example, a projected image can be bright enough to see in bright sunlight at a programmable focal distance that can better serve the eyesight of different people as they age. Another advantage is that the display is far less susceptible to problems with glare. The proposed system must support an external video source of an existing HUD computer. The proposed display must be capable of projecting on or through a helmet visor equipped with laser protective properties. The proposed system must include system components to provide symbology on an aviation visor with the necessary reflective properties to see the symbology while still seeing through the visor in both day and night conditions. Cost target for production rates anticipated for fielding would be $10,000. In commercial quantities, would estimate that to be as low as $2,000, similar to the other commercial systems. The current motorcycle market in America does not have this product on the market, nor do commercial aviation helicopter helmets. Leverage of this technology could be easily applied to a HUD enhanced with moving map directions attached to a phone or Garmin. 

PHASE I: This effort shall generate a feasibility study which defines whether an existing or development commercial projection HUD product can be modified to fit on an Army HGU-56P helmet and project an image provided by a standard PC video input on the visor. The product proposed shall not introduce a new lens in front of one eye. The product proposed shall project an image in front of the pilot that is perceived at infinity. The visor in the product proposed shall support laser protective properties per the requirements of the Common Helmet Mounted Display (CHMD) specification AVNS-DTL-10868B. The study shall outline what technology can be leveraged from an existing product already in development or production. The vendor shall provide any supporting data already in existence to include performance, optical characteristics, distortion and the results of any testing that may have been performed, and provide analysis where data or testing is not available. 

PHASE II: This effort shall build and produce a quantity of not less than eight prototype hardware displays capable of mounting on an HGU-56P helmet and projecting a video input from a laptop computer on the helmet visor. The hardware shall demonstrate sunlight readability of the display, adjustable brightness and the ability to adjust the focal length of the display. The hardware shall demonstrate the ability to see symbols projected while night vision goggles are installed on the helmet. The vendor shall create an item specification for the product which shall be delivered. The item specification would define product capability, test requirements to prove those capabilities, and include compliance requirements of the specification written in phase II. A study shall be delivered outlining a program cost and schedule to build the product so that it would accept video input from the Army standard HUD, bench test the system for all performance requirements called out in the new item specification, and support aircraft simulator testing. All hardware developed under Phase II shall become the property of the US Government as a deliverable. The Government will furnish as many helmets as required to support development. All drawings and source code developed in response to this effort shall be delivered to the Government upon completion of this phase. 

PHASE III: The Projection HUD shall be built and tested to accept video input from the Army standard HUD computer. The production hardware weight shall be less than or equal to the current HUD display weight with an objective of half the current display weight. The new HUD display will be tested in a simulator to the performance specification requirements. The new HUD display will undergo bench qualification testing to the performance specification requirements. The new HUD display will then enter aircraft flight testing and evaluation. Thirty six (36) displays will be built and furnished to support test and evaluation. 

REFERENCES: 

1: AVNS-DTL-10868B, Detail Specification, Item Specification for the Air Soldier Common Helmet Mounted Display (uploaded in SITIS on 12/8/17)

2:  Commercial technology potential sources: https://livemap.info/ https://www.ridenuviz.com/

CONTACT(S): 

Gilbert Murray 

(256) 842-8530 

gilbert.l.murray2.civ@mail.mil 

James Hauser 

(256) 876-3769 

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