Cross-Cockpit Collimated Displays for Flight Simulation
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-146
Topic Title: Cross-Cockpit Collimated Displays for Flight Simulation
Proposal No.: N082-146-0715
Firm: Video Display Corporation, dba VDC Display Systems
7177 N. Atlantic Avenue
Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920
Contact: Haizhang Li
Phone: (321) 784-4427
Web Site:
Abstract: VDC Display Systems proposes an innovative approach to develop and to commercialize a large-area, large field-of-view, multi-viewer, collimated display system for flight simulation. To address some key issues associated with current flight simulation systems, such as high maintenance cost, difficulty in installation, alignment and calibration for image and color matching between individual display channels, the innovative system is characterized with implementation of a spherical video screen built by customized tricolor SMT (surface-mount) LED modules, to replace multiple projectors and the spherical screen currently used in traditional flight simulators, while keeping the collimating mirror, to achieve substantial improvement in image performance, higher contrast and brightness, system efficiency, and overall cost reduction.
Benefits: 1. Advantages of the proposed display. In comparison with the traditional projector based system, the proposed innovative system has the following major advantages. (1) Improved Image Quality. The typical brightness of the traditional cross-cockpit collimated display is about 200 nits. The typical luminous white intensity of commercial 1.6mmX1.6mm tri-color SMT LED could be 400 mcd. With the proposed smaller package of 1 mm x 1 mm, even if the white intensity is 200 mcd, the brightness of the LED screen could be 400 nits with 1/500 duty-cycle in the PWM mode, i.e., the proposed display could be twice brighter than the traditional system. The contrast ratio is defined as the ratio of the luminance of the brightest color (white) to that of the darkest color (black) that the system is capable of producing. With zero duty-cycle driving current, the LED black pixel could emit virtually no light. The contrast ratio of the proposed LED screen will be superior to any projector based screen. The screen height of the current cross-cockpit collimated display is about 50 inches. If three projectors with HD resolution (1920 x 1080) are used, the pitch is about 1.176 mm. By comparison, the proposed 1 mm pitch SMT LED screen has higher resolution. Most of the projectors used in the traditional cross-cockpit collimated display use arc lamp with much less color saturation than LED could do. So the proposed display has rich color gamut and can display more colors with the original video signal than the traditional system. (2) Costs Deduction of Maintenance and Repair. There is no need to handle brightness, contrast, and color match between different projectors and to overcome image degrading in the blend zones for the proposed display system. So the maintenance cost of the proposed system will be substantially lower than traditional projector based system. The lifetime of the lamp used in most projectors is several thousands hours while the lifetime of the proposed LED modules is typically 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Since the designed duty-cycle is 1/500, one could expect even longer lifetime for the light source used in the proposed display system. (3) Enhanced Contrast for Night Vision Simulation. For the night vision training, one needs to distinguish minor differences of grayscale intensity under overall low luminance level. With dynamic contrast enhancement of the LED display, adjusted to the maximum intensity based on the overall luminance level, the proposed system can display more grey levels for the night vision simulation than projector based system with arc lamp light source. In addition, the proposed system eliminates the need for complex electronic and or optical edge blending required in projection base systems. 2. Potential Commercial Applications. Development of the current SMT LED display system in facet-curved surfaces opens a promising new approach for both indoor and out door displays. Similar LED video screen could be used for numerous high-end visualization commercial display applications where the curved screen and/or specific emitting directions are required, such as commercial flight, vehicle, marine simulations, dome-based displays with 360 degree field of view, entertainment, game, scientific and medical displays. The proposed curved SMT LED screen is scalable. It is composed of multiple tiles, with each tile composed of multiple blocks, with each block composed of multiple modules. Virtually, the screen could be any free form shapes and sizes to be adapted to different applications.