Eye Tracker for Avionics Helmet Systems (ETAHS)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-12-C-6272
Agency Tracking Number: F093-020-2271
Amount: $749,951.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF093-020
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
1288 Hammerwood Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, -
DUNS: 194860156
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jonathan Waldern
 (650) 793-2695
Business Contact
 Jonathan Waldern
Title: CTO
Phone: (650) 793-2695
Email: jonathanw@sbglabs.com
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: SBG Labs has developed a display technology with a suite of disruptive characteristics ideally suited for next-generation helmet mounted displays (HMDs). The key characteristics of this novel HMD are: (1) a 90a field of view with a 30a binocular overlap at the center; (2) high-resolution digital imagery focused at infinity and close to the limit of human visual acuity over the entire field of view; (3) a panoramic regard much greater than the displayed imagery with high (>90%) see-through, generous eye box, and adequate eye relief; and (4) a light-weight, low-profile design that fits comfortably inside a visor or protective goggles. During Phase I, SBG Labs demonstrated the technical feasibility of a novel eye tracker capability, one which can be integrated with the above HMD without disrupting hard-won performance or adding significant weight. That is, the solution is able to unobtrusively share the existing optics while still meeting stringent eye-tracking requirements. Under Phase II, SBG Labs will implement the detailed optical design developed in Phase I, as well as the associated electronics and image processing algorithms required to extract the direction of gaze. The system will be integrated with an HMD of the type above and demonstrated to AF personnel. BENEFIT: A see-through display must satisfy a suite of very challenging requirements; including wide field of view, high resolution, focus at infinity, good luminance, and adequate dynamic grayscale. The HMD developed by SBG Labs is the first to meet all of the above requirements. The benefit to the warfighter is vastly improved situational awareness and comfort. Adding an eye tracker to this HMD provides additional benefits. First and foremost, eye tracking extends the pilots ability to designate targets well beyond head-motion limits. Additionally, eye tracking can be used to psychometrically monitor pilot alertness or measure a trainees learning curve. A wide-field-of-view see-through display is a dual-use product. SBG Labs hopes to leverage the proposed development into OEM components for consumer head-worn video displays. The channel to market will be the same as SBG Labs other products: major consumer electronics companies. Since military devices can support a higher price point than commercial ones and entail lower production volumes, having the DoD as a first customer will enable SBG Labs to gradually ramp up its manufacturing infrastructure and engineer out the cost. In the long term, commercial demand will outstrip defense demand, driving down cost to the DoD and spurring further technical development.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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