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Personal display that eliminates visual eavesdropping


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a device that (1) positively identifies a person and (2) provides information that only that person can see. The device must be inoperable by unauthorized individuals and free of visual eavesdropping. 

DESCRIPTION: Confidential information is critical to many enterprises from commercial to military. We must protect information about covert operations, technological capabilities, proprietary property, and vulnerabilities that could be exploited by other entities. Unfortunately, this secrecy also can greatly impact daily operations. Accessing information may not always be possible when and where it is needed. For example, “combined” operation centers include people from various countries working side-by-side with many common goals. Decisions may involve classified information that foreign partners are not authorized to see. For example, the information may reveal a system vulnerability. If the cleared individuals must go to a facility with a higher classification level, the timeliness of the response can be impacted. Today, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) is needed to access classified information but is not always available when and where it is needed. Plus a rush for key individuals to get to a SCIF during a contingency can itself be an indicator that our adversaries can exploit. This research will address the SCIF issue by developing a “Your Eyes Only” projector that integrates a projection system that eliminates visual eavesdropping (such as direct retinal projection) and a biometric identification system (such as ocular scanning). Through literature searches, it does not appear that the integration of these two technologies has been attempted into a single transportable device. Conceivably these two technologies could be synergistic for more optimal form factor, power usage and system complexity. For example, the projection system may provide the illumination needed for the biometric scanner. There are two components to this system that must work in concert: the biometric identification system and the image transfer system. The identification system must continuously scan the individual to ensure the person receiving the information is authorized to receive it. Biometric scanning of the retina, iris, and facial anthropometry are some possible methods that could be employed. The image transfer system may provide a virtual display directly to the retina that can only be seen by that individual. Unlike near-eye displays that could be vulnerable to visual eavesdropping, the images produced by these devices are only visible and discernable when it reaches the retina. Furthermore, it should only work on a specific eye of a specific individual and, practically speaking, can only be seen by that individual. Retinal projection has steadily progressed since its inception by Dr. Thomas Furness which he received the Discover Award for Technological Innovation. The original intent of the technology was to enable virtual and augmented reality without the bulkiness and power requirements of traditional head-mounted displays. Other methods of projection and identification could be employed but the key is to ensure the information would not be visible to unauthorized individuals either directly (if the device were to be lost or stolen) or indirectly (visual eavesdropping). No government furnished materials, equipment, data, or facilities will be provided. 

PHASE I: Define display-technology capable of being transmitted without visual eavesdropping. Define positive identification technology that can be integrated with the display technology. Provide a detailed design of how the two technologies can be integrated. 

PHASE II: Develop a system that demonstrates the positive identification and transfer of information to an authorized individual without visual eavesdropping. This demonstration shall include various individuals who will attempt to intercept the information. Conduct semi-annual design reviews to ensure the development is meeting requirements. 

PHASE III: Create an encapsulated system that can be used in an operational center type of environment. 


1: Perlman, S. (2002) Virtual display system and method, Patent US 6353422 B1.

2:  Cleland, T. (2013) Biometric identification via retina scanning, Patent US20140079296A1.

3:  Furness, T., Kollin, J. (1995) Virtual retinal display, Patent US 5467104 A.

4: Viirre E, Pryor H, Nagata S, Furness TA 3rd (1998). "The virtual retinal display: a new technology for virtual reality and augmented vision in medicine." Stud Health Technol Inform. 50: 2527. doi:10.3233/978-1-60750-894-6-252. PMID 10180549.

KEYWORDS: Data Security, Biometric Identification, Virtual Retina Display, Sensitive Information Transfer 


John Ianni 

(937) 255-8892 

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