Augmented Reality - from Fighter Cockpit to Aurasma

Topics: Hype cycle, Gartner, Innovation Pages: 3 (963 words) Published: April 3, 2013
If you still find yourself not grasping what the concept of "adding additional layer to the reality", let us help you by giving a couple of practical applications of this technology, fighter cockpit and BMW. 

To tell you the gist of the technology, it projects images to the windscreens. 

As most advancements of cutting-edge technology have their origin in the armaments industry, we can find a few early-stage implementation of AR in high-tech weaponry.

Let me start with Helmet-mounted display (HMD) for the pilots. HMD is a device used in combat aircraft. It appeared in the mid-1970s to help the pilot aim heat seeking missiles or make bore attacks by projecting important targeting and navigational information to the goggles of aviator. As its effectiveness was known after South African Air Force's first jet fighter operation with HMD, many nations adopted this technology to their fighters. 

One of the popular one is AH-64 Apache with IHADSS (Integrated Helmet And Display Sight System)

This upgraded HMD, IHADSS, is integrated with the sensors of combat helicopter. Since the line of sight (LOS) of the aviator is calibrated and aligned to the point of missile and machine guns, the aviator can easily and promptly aim the target. In order to detect the movement of helmet (the head position of the pilot), optical tracking and electromagnetic tracking technologies were used.  

Now let's move on to the commercial use case of this technology. In automotive technology, Head-up display (HUD) technology is one that fully realized AR up to now. BMW first produced the automobile with this HUD. HUD projects relevant driving information to the drivers’ line of sight. 

Although it looks magical, it is also very simple in concept. The images are projected to the small square depression on the dashboard. 

These two are the obvious real-life use of AR technology. Nevertheless, AR is not widely spread nor perceived as a technology in its matured stage yet. Let's...

References: 1) Quoted from Wikipedia 'hype cycle '
2) Reference from web site ‘Bit Rebels’ (
3) "Making augmented reality a reality can benefit insurers" by Barry Rabkin, OVUM (
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