Underwater HUD gives Navy divers an extra eye in the sea

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A prototype DAVD diving helmet(Credit: US Navy)

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When commercial or naval divers need to know how to proceed underwater, they can't just pull out an iPad or a sheet of written instructions. That's why US Navy engineers are developing what's known as the Divers Augmented Vision Display, or DAVD. It's a translucent HD head-up display (HUD), that's built into a diving helmet.

DAVD is designed for use by surface-tethered divers performing underwater activities such as ship maintenance, salvage, construction, or rescue operations. It can be turned off by divers when not needed.

Among the types of data that can be displayed are text messages, diagrams, photos and videos. It can also show sector sonar, which is a real-time overhead display of the diver's location within the dive site. Down the road, it may additionally be combined with diver-worn high-resolution sonar devices – these could provide images of underwater objects hidden by murky water, that would be displayed within the helmet.

Plans call for the first in-water tests of DAVD to begin this October.

"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," says project leader Dennis Gallagher. "You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet."

Source: US Navy

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