Military and public safety divers work in a unique and extreme operational environment; characterized by high
turbidity and zero visibility. To help conduct underwater securit and search/recovery missions special sensors are
used. These include imaging sonar, underwater navigation systems, mapping devices, and enhanced underwater
video. A visual display system is the necessary means of providing this sensor information to the diver.
Unfortunately, handheld displays or displays built into the sensor are virtually useless in the environment
characterized by zero visibility.
"Near-to-eye" display systems incorporating micro display technology and its associated optics provide a workable
solution. While a step in the right direction these "near-to-eye" systems - whether developed for commercial or
military applications - have been designed for land-based (or "topside") environments, and fall far short when
simply adapted to a dive mask.
A diver operating underwater with a dive mask in zero visibility presents a unique challenge combining
requirements for small physical size, light weight, large eye-relief (stand-off distance), high data content, and
The following paper describes the successful design of such a system from the perspective of the diver's operating
environment. The resultant system is a light-weight, binocular, mask-mounted visual display that allows for
extended stand-off distance (eye relief), requires no interpupillary or focus adjustments, and provides high data
content color information regardless of ambient visibility conditions.