Thales Visionix has developed a new helmet tracker based on a hybrid inertial optical approach. It uses the inside-out
concept of the InterSense VisTracker technology, which has been acquired by Thales Visionix, upgraded with a tiny
high-performance NavChip Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). A unique feature of the tracker is that there is no aircraft
mounted equipment. A group of small circular barcode-like fiducial stickers are placed on the interior surface of the
cockpit. The tracker allows operation in both hybrid inertial/optical and inertial-only modes, which it seamlessly
switches between as the pilot’s helmet goes in and out of the optical tracking zone. This paper describes the tracker, its
features and performance.
Thales Visionix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Thales Communications, Inc., has developed a novel method
for characterization of canopy distortion for a large head box. Canopy distortion occurs when the user is
looking through any curved transparency. Any helmet mounted display system must either compensate for
this distortion, or add canopy distortion error to its total error budget. To date, canopies have been
characterized for only a few discrete locations in the cockpit. This results in a dilution of canopy distortion
compensation as the pilot will rarely sit in one of the few defined locations. The method described herein
allows for canopy distortion characterization and compensation for the entire HMD head-box.
The U.S. Army and eMagin Corporation established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to
characterize the ongoing improvements in the lifetime of OLED displays. This CRADA also called for the evaluation of
OLED performance as the need arises, especially when new products are developed or when a previously untested
parameter needs to be understood. In 2006, eMagin Corporation developed long-life OLED-XL devices for use in their
AMOLED microdisplays for head-worn applications. Through Research and Development programs from 2007 to 2012
with the U.S. Government, eMagin made additional improvements in OLED life and developed the first SXGA (1280 X
1024 with triad pixels) and WUXGA (1920 X 1200 with triad pixels) OLED microdisplays. US Army RDECOM
CERDEC NVESD conducted life and performance tests on these displays, publishing results at the 2012, 2011, 2010,
2009, 2008, and 2007 SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing Symposia. Life and performance tests have continued
through 2013, and this data will be presented along with a comparison to previous data. This should result in a better
understanding of the applicability of AMOLEDs in military and commercial head mounted systems, where good fits are
made, and where further development might be desirable.
In see-through HMD the background illumination is a crucial factor, which influences the ability of viewing the display.
When using the HMD at a very bright day, the display image risks vanishing due to sun illumination. However, at a very
cloudy day, one needs all the light to pass through the display to the user’s eye. The need for a better light control was
our trigger for developing a Dynamic Sunlight Filter (DSF), which is a passive solution dedicated to regulate sunlight
Fused fiber optic devices are bundles of glass optical fibers that have been successively bundled and drawn to smaller
and smaller sizes, effectively creating a “zero optical path window”. Due to the nature of fiber’s clad and core design,
pixelization or sampling of the resulting image occurs; this sampling fundamentally degrades the image. Degradation of
a resulting image caused by an optical system can be quantified by way of its Modulation Transfer Function. However,
since fused fiber optic devices first sample then effectively project the original image, they do not meet the Fourier
transform’s prerequisite conditions of being linear and isoplanatic.
Current technologies at SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging have initiated a study to determine methodology for measuring
the sampled modulation transfer function of bonded assemblies such as bonded Faceplate-to-OLED and Faceplate-tosensor
assemblies. The use of randomly generated targets imaged through the bonded assemblies proved to be a useful
tactic. This paper discusses the test methods developed and subsequent measurement of the sampled modulation transfer
function of fused fiber optic bundles and bonded assemblies.
Prolonged use of conventional stereo displays causes viewer discomfort and fatigue because of the vergenceaccommodation
conflict. We used a novel volumetric display to examine how viewing distance, the sign of the vergenceaccommodation
conflict, and the temporal properties of the conflict affect discomfort and fatigue. In the first experiment,
we presented a fixed conflict at short, medium, and long viewing distances. We compared subjects’ symptoms in that
condition and one in which there was no conflict. We observed more discomfort and fatigue with a given vergenceaccommodation conflict at the longer distances. The second experiment compared symptoms when the conflict had one sign compared to when it had the opposite sign at short, medium, and long distances. We observed greater symptoms with uncrossed disparities at long distances and with crossed disparities at short distances. The third experiment compared symptoms when the conflict changed rapidly as opposed to slowly. We observed more serious symptoms when the conflict changed rapidly. These findings help define comfortable viewing conditions for stereo displays.
This paper describes performance evaluation of a wearable augmented reality system for natural outdoor environments.
Applied Research Associates (ARA), as prime integrator on the DARPA ULTRA-Vis (Urban Leader Tactical,
Response, Awareness, and Visualization) program, is developing a soldier-worn system to provide intuitive ‘heads-up’
visualization of tactically-relevant geo-registered icons. Our system combines a novel pose estimation capability, a
helmet-mounted see-through display, and a wearable processing unit to accurately overlay geo-registered iconography
(e.g., navigation waypoints, sensor points of interest, blue forces, aircraft) on the soldier’s view of reality. We achieve
accurate pose estimation through fusion of inertial, magnetic, GPS, terrain data, and computer-vision inputs. We
leverage a helmet-mounted camera and custom computer vision algorithms to provide terrain-based measurements of
absolute orientation (i.e., orientation of the helmet with respect to the earth). These orientation measurements, which
leverage mountainous terrain horizon geometry and mission planning landmarks, enable our system to operate robustly
in the presence of external and body-worn magnetic disturbances. Current field testing activities across a variety of
mountainous environments indicate that we can achieve high icon geo-registration accuracy (<10mrad) using these
In this paper we report on the technical developments of the head worn display (HWD) for DARPA’s SCENICC
program. The goal of the SCENICC program is to provide the warfighter with vision capabilities exceeding normal
human vision. This is being achieved with an advanced imaging system that is able to capture the surrounding scene
with superior visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and wavelength sensitivity. With this increased visual information
density, intelligent image processing provides imagery to the wearer’s eyes via an advanced HWD.
The goal of this HWD is to provide digital visual information at the limits of human perception over a field of view near
the human peripheral vision limits. This represents a tremendous amount of information requiring novel concepts in
order to achieve such ambitious goals. One important concept is the use of imaging optics located directly on the eye,
moving with the eye as it changes its gaze angle. A second concept is the use of demagnification optics to convert a
large, low spatial resolution image into a smaller, high spatial resolution image. This is done in conjunction with image
processing that is constantly modifying the image presented based on real-time pupil tracking.
In addition to enabling a high performance optical system, integrating the imaging optical components into contact
lenses eliminates much of the bulky imaging optics from the HWD itself creating a high performance wearable display in
a standard protective eyewear form factor. The resulting quantum advance in HWD performance will enable HWDs to
expand well beyond their current limited roles.
Digital night sensor technology offers both advantages and disadvantages over standard analog
systems. As the digital night sensor technology matures and disadvantages are overcome, the
transition away from analog type sensors will increase with new programs. In response to this
growing need RCEVS is actively investing in digital night vision systems that will provide the
performance needed for the future.
Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems of America continue to invest in digital night technology and
have completed laboratory, ground and preliminary flight testing to evaluate the important key
factors for night vision. These evaluations have led to a summary of the maturity of the digital
night capability and status of the key performance gap between analog and digital systems.
Introduction of Digital Night Vision Systems can be found in the roadmap of future fixed wing
and rotorcraft programs beginning in 2015. This will bring a new set of capabilities to the pilot
that will enhance his abilities to perform night operations with no loss of performance.
Lack of mutual occlusion capability between computer-rendered and real objects is one of fundamental problems for
most existing optical see-through head-mounted displays (OST-HMD). Without the proper occlusion management, the
virtual view through an OST-HMD appears “ghost-like”, floating in the real world. To address this challenge, we have
developed an innovative optical scheme that uniquely combines the eyepiece and see-through relay optics to achieve an
occlusion-capable OST-HMD system with a very compelling form factor and high optical performances. The proposed
display system was based on emerging freeform optical design technologies and was designed for highly efficient liquid
crystal on silicon (LCoS) type spatial light modulator (SLM) and bright Organic LED (OLED) microdisplay. The
proposed display technology was capable of working in both indoor and outdoor environments. Our current design
offered a 1280x1024 color resolution based on 0.8" microdisplay and SLM. The MTF values for the majority of the
fields at the cutoff frequency of 40lps/mm, which is determined by the pixel size of the microdisplay, are better than
15%. The design achieved a diagonal FOV of 40 degrees, 31.7 degrees horizontally and 25.6 degrees vertically, an exit
pupil diameter of 8mm (non-vignetted), and an eye clearance of 18mm. The optics weights about 20 grams per eye. Our
proposed occlusion capable OST-HMD system can easily find myriads of applications in various military and
commercial sectors such as military training, gaming and entertainment.