Watch any science fiction film and the soldiers always seem to have a heads up display where information is fused seamlessly and presented to the wearer.
Whilst science and technology marches on at a relentless pace, the current state of the art seems, at least in virtual or synthetic environments, somewhat clunky.
The Google Glass type display that projects symbology onto a normal pair of glasses seems the most likely to be adopted first but one of the difficulties, apart from all the usual power, weight and what exactly would be displayed issues, is combining protective glass with a lightweight projector.
A recent announcement from a Finnish company, VTT, may be important on the road to Sci Fi Soldiers.
The technology is based on lightguide optics, which enables the manufacture of displays on either glass or plastic in the form of light and thin elements with a thickness of just one millimetre. In addition to thinness, the benefits of the technology include a large, high-quality virtual image and excellent transparency. The display element can also be freely shaped.
“Compared to existing solutions, which are bulky or difficult to manufacture, the Dispelix solution has advantages such as the display’s thinness, lightness, aesthetic appearance and volume production compatibility,” says Sunnari.
The display’s user-friendliness is boosted by the fact that the virtual image forms within the user’s field of vision, which prevents eye strain. Dispelix’s display solution can be customised to meet different customer needs – depending on the application, either simple, monochrome information or a multi-coloured video image can be displayed within the user’s field of vision.
“The size of the virtual image is equivalent to a 60-inch TV viewed from a distance of three metres,” Sunnari explains.