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Proceedings Paper

Flight performance using a hyperstereo helmet-mounted display: adaptation to hyperstereopsis
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Paper Abstract

Modern helmet-mounted night vision devices, such as the Thales TopOwlTM helmet, project imagery from intensifiers mounted on the sides of the helmet onto the helmet visor. This increased effective inter-ocular separation distorts several cues to depth and distance that are grouped under the term "hyperstereopsis". Stereoscopic depth perception, at near to moderate distances (several hundred metres), is subject to magnification of binocular disparities. Absolute distance perception at near distances (a few metres) is affected by increased "differential perspective" as well as an increased requirement for convergence of the eyes to achieve binocular fixation. These distortions result in visual illusions such as the "bowl effect" where the ground appears to rise up near the observer. Previous reports have indicated that pilots can adapt to these distortions after several hours of exposure. The present study was concerned with both the time course and the mechanisms involved in this adaptation. Three test pilots flew five sorties with a hyperstereo night vision device. Initially, pilots reported that they were compensating for the effects of hyperstereopsis, but on the third and subsequent sorties all reported perceptual adaptation, that is, a reduction in illusory perception. Given that this adaptation was the result of intermittent exposure, and did not produce visual aftereffects, it was not due to the recalibration of the relationship between binocular cues and depth/distance. A more likely explanation of the observed visual adaptation is that it results from a discounting of distorted binocular cues in favour of veridical monocular cues, such as familiar size, motion parallax and linear perspective.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2009
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7326, Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XIV: Design and Applications, 732606 (1 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820500
Show Author Affiliations
Geoffrey W. Stuart, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (Australia)
Sion A. Jennings, National Research Council Canada (Canada)
Melvyn E. Kalich, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab. (United States)
Clarence E. Rash, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab. (United States)
Thomas H. Harding, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab. (United States)
Gregory L. Craig, National Research Council Canada (Canada)

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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