New DARPA RFP Calls for All-In-One HUD that Sees Through Smoke, In The Dark and In Broad Daylight
DARPA wants a multi-band head-up display, which could be mounted to a helmet or a weapon scope, that combines several wavelengths of light into one image.
Sunny? No problem—the camera can see in visible light. Smoke bomb blocking your view? No sweat; the camera can see thermal infrared signatures. The system would also have near-infrared capability to help users see through darkness.
A new DARPA project called the Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization (PIXNET) seeks proposals for new sensors that can do all of this in one package. A successful proposal would be small, lightweight, low-power and low-cost, said Nibir Dhar, DARPA program manager for PIXNET.
The system would communicate wirelessly with Android-based smart phones to fuse the images together, like you can see in the inset above. The warfighter would see a scene with visible imagery, thermal sensitivity and near-IR capability all in one.
Existing sensors are a good starting point, but they’re not advanced enough to combine multiple functions the way DARPA wants. Combining reflective and thermal bands will be a challenge, not to mention making it ultra-portable. “What we really need are breakthroughs in aperture design, focal plane arrays, electronics, packaging and materials science,” Dhar said.
(via DARPA Wants Cheap Head-Up Displays That Work In Any Kind Of Light | Popular Science)