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Proceedings Paper

Passive optical methods for helmet tracking in aircraft
Author(s): Patrick J. Vitarius; Don A. Gregory; Denise Morell
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Paper Abstract

Any system that will aid the military pilot in directing fire or sensors or aid in the stabilization of imagery that is captured by the aircraft's sensors would substantially increase the pilot's effectiveness. Several optical techniques are described in this presentation for determining the orientation and position of a pilot's helmet, which is actually one of the first requirements in accomplishing the tasks just listed. These techniques are all passive in that they require no input from the pilot except perhaps for an initial calibration, which would likely be valid for a particular pilot for any subsequent flight. The problem of determining the position and orientation of a pilot's helmet can be thought of as determining the position and orientation of a vector that starts at the center of the pilot's head and points forward. If we take this vector to be of a fixed (arbitrary) length, the problem reduces to the determination of five independent variables. Several techniques are investigated that range from the very simple, direct view and map approach to complicated routines involving color mixing, optical correlation, time of flight measurements, intensity gradients, and fiber optic gyroscopes. All of these approaches work. The true goal of this investigation is to define the problem physically and mathematically, and to analyze all of the approaches and ultimately determine the advantages and disadvantages of each before much laboratory equipment has been dedicated and other expensive equipment purchased.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 April 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5437, Optical Pattern Recognition XV, (12 April 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.543243
Show Author Affiliations
Patrick J. Vitarius, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
Don A. Gregory, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
Denise Morell, FastMetrix, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5437:
Optical Pattern Recognition XV
David P. Casasent; Tien-Hsin Chao, Editor(s)

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