Over the past 30 years, there have been innumerable articles and scientific papers which address the design and performance of helmet- and head-mounted display systems. A large portion of this book is the result of a careful and comprehensive analysis of this literature. With the fielding of various military systems, research within this area has accelerated greatly since the mid-1980s. While this book is intended to provide a fairly comprehensive overview of this area of technology and its interface with a human observer, it is not exhaustive.
Only a few comprehensive books currently are available on helmet-mounted displays. Most definitive is Melzer’s and Moffitt’s Head-Mounted Displays: Designing for the User (McGraw Hill, 1997). Our offering differs from theirs in two major ways. First, we focus on the use of helmet-mounted displays in rotarywing aircraft (helicopters) in Army aviation. It is worth noting that the U.S. Army has flown with image intensifier helmet-mounted displays (Night Vision Goggles) since the early 1970s and has fielded the integrated helmet-mounted display (the Integrated Helmet and Display Sight System (IHADSS), manufactured by Honeywell, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and used in the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter).
Second, the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL), Fort Rucker, Alabama, has over 25 years of experience with the design and performance of helmet- and head-mounted display systems. From 1972 to 2000, USAARL has published over 140 reports and articles dealing with helmet-mounted displays and the most important issue of interfacing these displays to the user (aviator). USAARL’s helmet-mounted display program is multidisciplined, combining research and development with testing and evaluation, running the gamut of optics, vision, acoustics, audition, biodynamics, safety, and human factors.
The authors also would like to call the reader’s attention to the annual SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering) conferences on head- and helmet-mounted displays and the conference proceedings which provide a review of ongoing research and testing of these display systems.
Clarence E. Rash
Fort Rucker, Alabama