Augmented reality helmet for soldiers exceeds expectations
BAE System's Q Warrior helmet was said to perform better than expected in tests [Credit: BAE Systems]
The Q-Warrior helmet-mounted head-up display for soldiers has performed better than expected in testing, said the system’s developer BAE Systems.
The augmented reality display for soldiers, similar to those used by jet pilots and designed to improve identification of targets and waypoints, was field-tested by US military researchers.
"Q-Warrior increases the user's situational awareness by providing the potential to display 'eyes-out' information to the user, including textual information, warnings and threats,” explained Paul Wright, Soldier Systems' Business Development Lead at BAE Systems' Electronic Systems.
"Other key features include enhanced night vision, waypoints and routing information, and the ability to track both personnel and assets,” Wright said.
The Q-Warrior helmet is equipped with a high-resolution, see-through head-up display that enables the soldiers to see information embedded into real-life surroundings. BAE Systems believes the gadget could improve soldiers’ awareness. In the early stages, it will be used by section commanders, but could one day become a standard piece of military equipment.
"The biggest demand, in the short term at least, will be in roles where the early adoption of situational awareness technology offers a defined advantage,” said Wright
"This is likely to be within non-traditional military units with reconnaissance roles, such as Forward Air Controllers/Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers (JTACS) or with special forces during counter terrorist tasks.”
The augmented reality device is frequently being compared to those seen in films such as the Iron Man. However, the the developers say the reality still lags behind the fiction.
"Iron Man Stan presented an unachievable, invincible warrior capability but modern technology such as Q-Warrior is starting to bring some of that capability to the next generation of specialist soldiers," Wright concluded.
Head-up displays are on the rise, the first of the the two following videos shows a head-up display application for motorcyclists, the second a project trying to assess usability of Google Glass for astronauts:
"The 1950s saw the first big wave of 3D films, but the novelty wore off. Sixty years later, 3D may be back to stay as the technology goes mainstream."
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