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Proceedings Paper

Lightweight helmet-mounted night vision and FLIR imagery display systems
Author(s): Dennis C. Kent; Jack L. Jewell
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Paper Abstract

Military aviators have a need for lightweight Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) systems capable of displaying Night Vision (NV) imagery (which has been collected at the O.665m-O.93Optm portion of the spectrum), Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imagery (which has been collected at the 3-5im and 8-l2im waveband portions of the spectrum) and/or Heads-Up Display (HUD) information. Present HMD systems have excessive head—supported weights and poor centers of gravity (CG), inducing fatigue and creating an unsafe ejection condition. These problems are created mostly by the weight of the optics and optics support structure attached to the side and front of the aviator's helmet. The optics are necessary to redirect the imagery output of a phosphor screen to the aviator's eyes with as much fidelity as possible. An alternative approach to present HMD systems involves the use of a microlaser based image output array. The micro—lasers would be an array of Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) diodes. VCSELs have circular output beams, as opposed to edge emitting laser diodes which have astigmatic output beams. The VCSEL circular output beam geometry lends itself to the use of micro-lenses. The micro-lenses allow for f/number modulation with a significantly reduced number of optical elements in the optical path during the redirection of the output image to the user's eyes. Reduced optical elements equate to reduced weight and better CG. In addition, this approach may allow for significantly greater fields-of-view (FOV), possibly in excess of 100 degrees. This paper addresses the attributes and drawbacks of current HMD systems (especially NV systems) and the attributes, drawbacks, and technical challenges associated with realization of a HMD utilizing VCSELs as a display illumination source.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 1995
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 2465, Helmet- and Head-Mounted Displays and Symbology Design Requirements II, (22 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.209752
Show Author Affiliations
Dennis C. Kent, Naval Air Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Jack L. Jewell, Vixel Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2465:
Helmet- and Head-Mounted Displays and Symbology Design Requirements II
Ronald J. Lewandowski; Wendell Stephens; Loran A. Haworth, Editor(s)

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