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Off the Visor Heads Up Display (HUD)


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Advanced Materials; Microelectronics


OBJECTIVE: This topic involves the development of available daylight readable off-the-visor display solutions for use in mixed reality (MR) head mounted display (HMD) systems with the goal of moving on to a Phase 2 applied SBIR where the most optimal off-the-visor solution can be designed, produced, delivered, and characterized for use in future soldier vision products. This new see-through heads-up display component would enable use of low-cost visor optics to complete a display system with performance compatible with the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) requirements. Additionally, the technology may provide increased display-image performance over current systems, allowing the Warfighter to comfortably view sensor and computer-generated information during long-duration missions while continuing to maintain full situational awareness and light security on the battlefield. An optimal product or solution would also provide ergonomic benefits of lower weight and improved center of gravity and achieve affordability objectives consistent with wide-spread system fielding.


DESCRIPTION: Mixed Reality (MR) is the ability to improve someone’s situational awareness without degrading their natural ability to witness and interact with their surroundings. Advances in reduced size, weight, and power micro-displays (less than 1 inch diagonal) with low-profile off-the-visor see-through optics can deliver up to 2000fL of daytime contrasting light to the user’s eye, which is essential during combat and training conditions. The recent availability of man-portable power methods that run these electro-optics throughout an entire mission, coupled with these high transmission optics (>50%) will finally enable an overmatching MR capability for dismounted soldiers. An awardee will need to have experience with image alignment to avoid eye fatigue and user discomfort in these future vision capabilities.


PHASE I: Research and define three viable see-through vision technology configurations. This phase will focus on developing three viable designs for an off-the-visor HUD solution. Under Phase I, the awardee will research and document the trade-space for off-the-visor HUDs to include various optical configurations and image sources. By the end of phase I, the awardee will have defined three viable see through HUD designs, documenting the benefits and deficiencies of each.


PHASE II: Prototype most ideal see-through vision technology configurations. During Phase II, the awardee will produce a single prototype off-the-visor HUD, based on a design developed in the Phase I effort. At a minimum, the HUD prototype will have the ability to display static imagery or video content to the wearer at a brightness suitable for daytime use. The prototype should support at least a 30-degree field of view. The prototype will also provide a minimally distorted view through the visor of the real world in front of the wearer, such that walking and other mobility tasks are not impeded.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Primary commercial dual use potential is tied to the workforce and automotive industries providing hands-free critical information within complex environments.

  • Many commercial HUD applications for see-through optics have daylight contrast requirements that necessitate high display brightness.
  • Potential dual-use market applications for heads up display include:
    • Manufacturing workers using HUDs to receive instructions, visualize assembly processes, or monitor equipment status​.
    • Automotive applications in both vehicles and motorcycle helmets
    • Environmental monitoring in hazardous sites (e.g., mining and construction)
    • Healthcare applications, such as vital sign monitoring in the operating room
    • Immersive entertainment including gaming and media consumption.




  1. Hamer, et. al., ""High-performance OLED microdisplays made with multi-stack OLED formulations on CMOS backplanes"", SPIE Proceedings Volume 11473, Organic and Hybrid Light Emitting Materials and Devices XXIV; 114730F (2020), 2. Vogel, et. al., ""OLED microdisplays in near-to-eye applications: challenges and solutions"", SPIE Proceedings Volume 10335, Digital Optical Technologies 2017; 1033503 (2017)
  2. Vogel, et. al., ""OLED microdisplays in near-to-eye applications: challenges and solutions"", SPIE Proceedings Volume 10335, Digital Optical Technologies 2017; 1033503 (2017)


KEYWORDS: Mixed Reality (MR); Head Mounted Display; Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS); Low-cost visor optics; off-the-visor; sensors; micro-displays

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