Heads-Up Display for Diving Helmets
The U.S. Navy has developed a new diving technology: the Divers Augmented Vision Display, a high-resolution, see-through head-up display, embedded directly inside a diving helmet.
The system enables divers to have real-time visual display of everything from sector sonar (real-time topside view of the diver's location and dive site), text messages, diagrams, photographs and even augmented reality videos. Having real-time operational data enables them to be more effective and safe in their missions - providing expanded situational awareness and increased accuracy in navigating to a target such as a ship, downed aircraft, or other objects of interest.
Instead of having to rely on pre-dive briefings alone to determine what they are looking for, how specific items should appear and where they may be located, the system places the information right before divers' eyes with a look and feel comparable to a point-of-view video game display.
Divers have the ability to turn the heads-up display on and off, and direct topside to reposition display data in different locations on the display.
The system can be used for various diving missions, including ship husbandry, underwater construction and salvage operations. It is anticipated that the same system can eventually be used by first responders and the commercial diving community.
As part of its Strategic Plan for 2011-2025 to identify, exploit, and develop technology to advance the state-of-the-art in diving equipment, Naval Sea Systems Command is in the process of developing enhanced sensors - such as miniaturized high resolution sonar and enhanced underwater video systems - to enable divers to 'see' in higher resolution up close, even when water visibility is near zero. These enhanced underwater vision systems would be fed directly into the heads-up display.
The team is now working on phase two, where components are being designed to include both helmet systems and full face masks. Divers are scheduled to conduct in-water simulation testing in October.
Lab simulation view of a sector sonar image with navigation aids through the Divers Augmented Vision Display. U.S. Navy Photo by Richard Manley
Lab simulation view of an augmented reality image of an airplane through the Divers Augmented Vision Display. U.S. Navy Photo by Richard Manley