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Proceedings Paper

Ergonomic design considerations for an optical data link between a warfighter's head and body-worn technologies
Author(s): Noel Trew; Gregory Burnett; Michael Sedillo; Candace S. Washington; Aaron Linn; Zachery Nelson
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Paper Abstract

Today, warfighters are burdened by a web of cables linking technologies that span the head and torso regions of the body. These cables help to provide interoperability between helmet-worn peripherals such as head mounted displays (HMDs), cameras, and communication equipment with chest-worn computers and radios. Although promoting enhanced capabilities, this cabling also poses snag hazards and makes it difficult for the warfighter to extricate himself from his kit when necessary. A newly developed wireless personal area network (WPAN), one that uses optical transceivers, may prove to be an acceptable alternative to traditional cabling. Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory's 711th Human Performance Wing are exploring how best to mount the WPAN transceivers to the body in order to facilitate unimpeded data transfer while also maintaining the operator's natural range of motion. This report describes the two-step research process used to identify the performance limitations and usability of a body-worn optical wireless system. Firstly, researchers characterized the field of view for the current generation of optical WPAN transceivers. Then, this field of view was compared with anthropometric data describing the range of motion of the cervical vertebrae to see if the data link would be lost at the extremes of an operator's head movement. Finally, this report includes an additional discussion of other possible military applications for an optical WPAN.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 May 2012
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 8383, Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XVII; and Display Technologies and Applications for Defense, Security, and Avionics VI, 838308 (21 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.920486
Show Author Affiliations
Noel Trew, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Gregory Burnett, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Michael Sedillo, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Candace S. Washington, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Aaron Linn, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Zachery Nelson, Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8383:
Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XVII; and Display Technologies and Applications for Defense, Security, and Avionics VI
Peter L. Marasco; Daniel D. Desjardins; Paul R. Havig II; Kalluri R. Sarma, Editor(s)

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