Future Warfare Could Involve Tactical Augmented Reality

Researchers at The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Centre working on AR HUD displays.

People who have played a modern first-person shooter such as Call of Duty or Halo will be familiar with the idea of a soldier going into battle with extra information in their field of vision, such as a map, radar, enemy positions, positions of your teammates etc. Researchers working for the US Army are trying to bring that same kind of information overlay to soldiers in real life.

The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Centre (CERDEC), part of the US army, recently gave a demonstration to certain members of the press at Pentagon Lab showing a heads-up display (HUD) that gives soldiers a strategic overlay of the world around them to try and help keep them safe.

The system is referred to as ‘Tactical Augmented Reality’ (TAR) and uses a helmet-mounted eyepiece which connects via wireless connection to a small computer that is clipped to the waist. The system also connects to the thermal sight on the soldier’s weapon to add that crucial information to the overlay. The system has an integrated GPS system in the miniature computer system, also.

Designed with the intention of being usable in both dark and daylight conditions, the single eyepiece allows the soldier to see the real world, but also the enhanced overlay to obtain extra information, such as a terrain map, similar to what players of many videogames would be used to seeing.

The technology is going through several prototype stages and is currently only capable of showing a greyscale or green-tinted image through the eyepiece. The researchers at CERDEC are working on more advanced versions with colour and other capabilities such as the ability for squad members to share their screen with their commander.

It’s not known when or if the TAR system will see deployment to soldiers in the field. VRFocus will bring you more information on the TAR system as it becomes available.

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