The US Army is working on a heads-up display (HUD) augmented-reality (AR) kit that will give soldiers real-time info. HUD 3.0 is being visualized as the kind of information display that shooter games are known for.
The idea is to have a small blurb always visible to soldiers in one corner of their eyes with their current location, enemy location, and navigation data, all up for them to see and make use of constantly.
According to a report by Popular Mechanics (PM), this system is intended to help soldiers orient themselves in a fight and come up with plans on the go.
HUD 3.0 is being designed after heads-up displays found in fighter jets. Introduced in the 1970s, they have been a mainstay in fighter design. HUDs project important data like altitude, heading, radar readouts, speed and even available weapons onto a pilot's field of view. This means the pilot always has their eyes in the sky while also having all the above-mentioned info.
HUD 3.0 will be built into the helmets of soldiers and will project information within soldiers' field of view in a non-intrusive manner. The system, noted the report, can do away with the need for soldiers to carry maps and use compasses to tell where they are headed and find other members of their troop.
This is not the first time the US Army is using HUDs. A previous version, called the HUD 1.0, is the Enhanced Night Vision Goggles III. These are night-vision goggles mounted on the sights of M4 carbines. They allow soldiers to not only shoot better, but also take cover and fire their guns more accurately.
The army is going from 1.0 to 3.0 model versions because of the massive leap in technology that this HUD brings, noted the report. There are a few obstacles in the way of developing HUD 3.0 that the army is trying to overcome.
Firstly, they want to fine-tune the amount of data fed through these HUDs. Too much information will crowd out soldiers' field of view and could be distracting. Another challenge is making the helmets "soldier proof" and able to withstand the rigors of war.
An unnamed private industry partner has been roped in to help the army develop this tech, with field-testing expected to begin next year.