Nomad Virtual-Cockpit Helmet-Mounted Display

Commanders in the field need better situational awareness; outmoded displays in otherwise serviceable aircraft need to be replaced quickly and easily. Microvision has created the Nomad Virtual-Cockpit Helmet-Mounted Display, a wearable display that is usable in all lighting conditions.

(From Microvision)

The display imposes information from a wide variety of sources on the user's field of view, allowing immediate integration into the battlefield picture:

  • Information about opposing forces, neutrals and noncombatants
  • Terrain maps
  • Spot reports and messages
  • vehicle sensors (like driver vision enhancement and gunner displays).

(From Microvision via Roland)

One hundred Nomad helmet-mounted display systems have been deployed in Iraq, Microvision officials say. "Feedback from the field has been overwhelmingly positive with comments like -- the only problem with the Nomad is that we don’t have enough of them," according to the company white paper.

"For the 3-20 Brigade, the Nomad Helmet Mounted Display consisted of a display module attached to the helmet, a video control module mounted to the vehicle, with a cable connected to the FBCB2 [Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade-and-Below] computer system. For the 1-25 Brigade the system has been ­upgraded to provide the ability to switch between the FBCB2, thermal weapon display, and thermal driver’s display with head-out-of-the-hatch operation. Nomad is a see-through, daylight readable display repeater in both applications."

Fans of sf writer David Drake are familiar with his helmet visor display, a heads-up display that allows the characters to integrate disparate forms of information into their view of the battlefield:

The left corner of her visor flashed the tiny red numeral 2. Her helmet's microprocessor had gathered all its sensor inputs and determined that the target was of Threat Level 2...

The night was bright and welcoming. Muzzle flashes erupted from the slim trees fringing the stream 400 meters to Wager's front. Short bursts without tracers. He set his visor for persistent display—prob'ly a way to do that with the main screens, too, but who the cop cared?—to hold the aiming point in his vision while he aligned the sights of the cupola tribarrel with them...

The images on the lower half of her visor wobbled at a rate different from that of the combat car and didn't change when Ranson darted her head to the left or right. She'd slaved its display to that of the sensors on Deathdealer in the lead....

This is not Microvision's first foray into the Nomad display - see Microvision Laser Monocle: Technician Retina-Vision for more technical details. For a more futuristic display (available as a prototype right now), see Virtual Retinal Displays Get All Geordi With It. Thanks to Winchell Chung for tip on the story, found on Roland Piquepaille's site.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/14/2004)

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