HMD (Helmet Mounted Display) technology came into use in the IAF over a decade ago and revolutionized combat aviation. Today, companies harness that technology for civilian uses, improving skiing for example
Noa Fenigstein | Translation: Eden Sharon
Flight helmet is one of the commonly known clothing features of fighter pilots, but the helmets have long left the capacity of a clothing item – they are now weapons in the full sense of the word.
The traditional helmet was improved with various elements such as upgraded weapon systems, control and flight data display in front of the eyes of the air crew members. The Head-Up Display technology, found in the HMD helmets, has revolutionized the world of aviation.
But when will that technology will be part of civilian lives? As it appears, the process has already begun.
Major (Res.) Alon Getz is an IAF veteran who, together with his partner Uri Kotik, developed a Head-up display goggles intended for skiing. The two founders of “Ride On” worked in “Rafael Advanced Defense Systems” in the past, where they worked on developing advanced flight helmets for military purposes.
Eventually they decided to combine their knowledge and profession with their mutual hobby – skiing.
“Technologically, the HMD system registers where the pilot is looking with respect to the cockpit. We don’t have a cockpit, but we calculated where the skier is looking and process his skiing route by inertial measures, GPS and video sensors”, explains Getz.
The “Ride On” goggles started as a helmet which was connected to a laptop on the back of the skier. The goggles’ Head-Up Display provides the user with augmented reality display, warning the skier from obstacles, offering him challenges and games during the skiing and directs him in case he strayed from the familiar skiing path.
“Similar to HMD, the display is translucent, but instead of projecting data on the visor itself, it is projected on a transparent panel, kind of like ‘Google Glass’”, says Getz. “But, as opposed to ‘Google Glass’, we have three times wider field of view, making it very easy to get use to skiing with the display”.