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Proceedings Paper

Virtual reality: a reality for future military pilotage?
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Paper Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) systems provide exciting new ways to interact with information and with the world. The visual VR environment can be synthetic (computer generated) or be an indirect view of the real world using sensors and displays. With the potential opportunities of a VR system, the question arises about what benefits or detriments a military pilot might incur by operating in such an environment. Immersive and compelling VR displays could be accomplished with an HMD (e.g., imagery on the visor), large area collimated displays, or by putting the imagery on an opaque canopy. But what issues arise when, instead of viewing the world directly, a pilot views a "virtual" image of the world? Is 20/20 visual acuity in a VR system good enough? To deliver this acuity over the entire visual field would require over 43 megapixels (MP) of display surface for an HMD or about 150 MP for an immersive CAVE system, either of which presents a serious challenge with current technology. Additionally, the same number of sensor pixels would be required to drive the displays to this resolution (and formidable network architectures required to relay this information), or massive computer clusters are necessary to create an entirely computer-generated virtual reality with this resolution. Can we presently implement such a system? What other visual requirements or engineering issues should be considered? With the evolving technology, there are many technological issues and human factors considerations that need to be addressed before a pilot is placed within a virtual cockpit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2009
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7326, Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XIV: Design and Applications, 73260D (2 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.819529
Show Author Affiliations
John P. McIntire, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Gary L. Martinsen, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Peter L. Marasco, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Paul R. Havig, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7326:
Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XIV: Design and Applications
Peter L. Marasco; Paul R. Havig; Sion A. Jennings; Thomas H. Harding, Editor(s)

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