This solicitation is now closed
Head Worn Display (HWD) Augmented Reality for Military Training Applications
Navy SBIR 2012.1 - Topic N121-085
ONR - Ms. Tracy Frost - tracy.frost1@navy.mil
Opens: December 12, 2011 - Closes: January 11, 2012

N121-085 TITLE: Head Worn Display (HWD) Augmented Reality for Military Training Applications

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems, Electronics, Human Systems

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: N2IT, Augmented Immersive Team Training (AITT) EC, CMP-FY11-02 PMTRASYS

OBJECTIVE: Develop a lightweight, low-cost, high-performance device to superimpose computer generated information on an individual's view of the real world.

DESCRIPTION: Augmented reality is a technology that places virtual computer-generated objects into a personís field of view. It can be an aircraft heads-up display (HUD) that shows symbology and information or it can project virtual characters into the real world as demonstrated in the Future Immersive Training Environment (FITE) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). Placing virtual characters, objects, and effects in the real world has the potential to revolutionize training. Currently, one of the biggest challenges to using augmented reality technologies in dismounted applications is the head worn display (HWD). There is a need for augmented reality HWDs that have the form factor of sunglasses or ballistic goggles and can operate for hours without needing to be recharged. These HWDs need to have bright images in all lighting conditions, must have a large field-of-view, and must be inexpensive. The commercial sector is rapidly developing augmented reality applications for smart phones, but a consumer grade HWD is needed for serious military training applications.

State-of-the-Art: The Vuzix Wrap 920AR is the current consumer grade HWD ($2,000), but it only has a 31 degree diagonal field-of-view and it uses video see-through technology which adds latency. The high-end Rockwell SimEye as used in Army Helicopter trainers is too expensive ($100K), too bulky, and too fragile for use outside of a simulated vehicle.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for a low-cost, high-performance device to superimpose computer-generated information on an individualís view of the real world. For simplicity, we will call this a Head Worn Display (HWD), but this does not preclude other approaches including contact lenses.

PHASE II: Prototype the HWD in a laboratory environment. Demonstrate that the robustness, size, weight, and power requirements are sufficient for training applications.

PHASE III: Produce the HWD system at low-cost and in volume.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Because of the improvements to smart phones within the last couple of years, augmented reality has jumped into the public stage. Unlike traditional military uses of augmented reality which use an HWD, the commercial marketplace uses the camera of the smart phone and the screen to provide a poor man's handheld augmented reality display. If there is a successful HWD in the form factor of normal sun glasses, the commercial market would be tremendous. An individual could have information correctly geo-positioned instantly available and non-obtrusive.

REFERENCES:
1. Henderson and Feiner, Mixed and Augmented Reality for Training, The PSI Handbook of Virtual Environments for Training and Education: Developments for the military and beyond, Chapter 6, p. 134-156, Edited by Nicholson, Schmorrow, and Cohn, 2009.

2. Muller, Schmorrow, and Buscemi, The Infantry Immersion Trainer: Todayís Holodeck, Marine Corps Gazette, September 2008, p. 14-18.

3. Muller, Cohn, and Nicholson, Immersing Humans in Virtual Environments: Whereís the Holodeck?, Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2004, Paper No. 1773.

KEYWORDS: HWD, Augmented Reality, HMD, Training, Simulation, Virtual Reality

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