Iron Man meets Aquaman as Navy turns to augmented reality

Smart helmets could show divers maps, sonar images and text messages

Scientists with the U.S. Navy are working to develop an augmented reality display for divers' helmets that would enable them to see photos, sonar readings and texts while working under water.

The futuristic-looking helmet offers a bit of Iron Man-meets-Aquaman in what the Naval Surface Warfare Center calls "next-generation" technology.

navy augmented reality Richard Manley/U.S. Navy

William Hughes III, lead engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, demonstrates the Divers Augmented Vision Display during a lab simulation.

Dubbed the Divers Augmented Vision Display, the augmented reality technology is embedded directly inside the helmet.

"By building this [heads up display] 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," Dennis Gallagher, the Navy's Underwater Systems Development Project Engineer, said in a statement. "You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet."

The smart helmet has been demonstrated to about 20 military divers so far.

The Navy expects to conduct in-water simulation testing in October, with expanded field testing set for 2017.

The military has not specified when the helmets could be in actual usage.

According to the Navy, the new helmet is expected to be used by military divers doing underwater construction, searches and salvage operations. It also could be used by first responders and commercial divers.

The technology is designed to aid divers by giving them visuals of exactly what they're looking for, mapping information and messages from the surface.

The military also noted that it is working on sensors, particularly video systems and sonar, that individual divers could use in murky conditions with the data being fed directly into the smart helmets.

"We constantly engage with the operators; if there is a vision they have, we can make it happen," Gallagher said. "By having this type of positive on-the-spot feedback, you know you're going down the right road."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags augmented realityaugmented reality (AR)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?