Researchers at US Navy have developed a see-through head-up display (HUD) which can be embedded into helmets of deep divers. The display called Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD) allows divers to visually access all information they need giving them a real-time visual display of everything.
And yes, the researchers do not deny the similarity between this helmet with the helmet of Iron Man suit and have even compared its functionality to it. Talking about the same, Underwater Systems Development Project Engineer Dennis Gallagher says,
By building this HUD directly inside the dive helmet instead of attaching a display on the outside, it can provide a capability similar to something from an ‘Ironman’ movie. You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet.
Divers often need to work at night time in low visibility deep areas amidst murky sea water. Their normal helmets are often bulky and restrict their field of vision. They often have to access other gadgets worn on wrist to know about their location, check messages, sonar or satellite data, etc.
DAVD eliminates all these problems by giving all these information to divers in front of his eyes. It can also relay information from overhead ship as well as provide an accurate estimate of depth and location of target objects such as a ship, downed aircraft, or any other thing which the diver is looking for.
Divers also have the option of switching HUD on and off. They can also direct topside to reposition display data in different locations on the HUD.
In future, the researchers are also planning to develop enhanced sensors, for example, miniaturized high resolution sonar and enhanced underwater video systems.
These sensors will enable divers to ‘see’ in higher resolution from a close distance even when water visibility is near zero. And data from these enhanced underwater vision systems would be fed directly into the DAVD HUD.
At present, DAVD HUD is just a prototype which is scheduled to go for underwater simulation testing in October. The team eventually hopes to make this helmet available to commercial divers as well after testing with first responders.