Augmented reality (AR) integrates, in real-time, digital information with the user’s environment. It’s not like virtual reality because AR uses your existing environment to overlay information on top of it. This technology may not be for mainstream consumers yet, but it’s almost ready for divers.
The US Navy revealed that it’s developing a high resolution, heads-up display (HUD) to assist underwater personnel. This display uses augmented reality.
This futuristic HUD design is inspired by the world of science fiction. This device increases safety and efficiency of divers who are in the line of duty.
Divers know that scuba diving offers a fun experience. But it comes with some danger and isolation. The standard masks worn can narrow down the diver’s field of view. Then, the neoprene gloves will affect precision.
To make the work of a professional easier and more streamlined, this futuristic HUD may be able to help. The prototype enables drivers to monitor and check their location. They can also tap into the sonar data by only looking straight ahead. In this way, they can eliminate the need of using a smart watching display.
Simply put, this futuristic HUD offers relevant information within the helmet.
A ship and other surface sources can send information to the drivers augmented vision display (DAVD). Improvements to the device could provide sonar sensors that are mounted on the helmet. It will then allow easy collection and display of information.
This device is indeed useful as underwater work involves a lot of low-light conditions. Professional divers also need to face the problematic salty water. Thus, additional visual cues can make professional divers in finding more information about what they’re looking for underwater.
Is it the same as the Google Glass?
It’s more than Google Glass. The rig utilizes transparent displays a stereoscopic augmented HUD, enabling the overlay to simulate depth perception. Remember that perception is a great help for divers when they are in low-visibility situations.
This device could overlay muddy waters using a real-time map, which is created by the small high-resolution sonar.
DAVD is still in development. However, the combination of those sensors is indeed a game changer for professional divers who are always dealing with murky water.
The device’s prototype will move to phase two. It means that it will be put to use in a real underwater scenario. The consumer version of this device may take a while before it is available on the market. However, for professional divers who wish to have more information when they are underwater, it can be worth the wait.
In a press release, project engineer of this futuristic HUD said:
“By building this HUD directly inside the dive helmet instead of attaching a display on the outside, it can provide a capability similar to something from an ‘Ironman’ movie. You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet.”
The team collaborated with more than 20 divers who shared the same vision of this futuristic capacity for all US Navy divers. In October, an in-water simulation will start. Phase three will begin in 2017 to strengthen its system so it can be used in expanded field testing.