The U.S. Army Research Laboratory discovered a new AR technology to overcome bright lighting conditions during the day using low-contrast dimming highlights. It opens up new research questions to improve warfighter AR and heads-up display performance in outdoor operations.
It’s difficult to make AR displays brighter due to the amount of power needed, and it’s hard (and computationally expensive with existing AR technology) to make sure the highlighting isn’t so strong that it prevents the Soldier from paying attention to the rest of the scene. The researchers proposed a new approach, low contrast dimming, that can titrate the visibility of target highlighting. Future warfighters will need AR in outdoor and mixed indoor/outdoor environments.
The AR technology discovery paves the way towards enabling the uses, including in challenging desert, snow, marine, and dense urban environments. The same approach could also improve situational awareness for other display technologies such as image intensifiers, infrared, and fused night vision displays. This approach would also enable indirect optics and potentially provide laser eye protection.
The researchers investigated high dynamic range, or HDR, luminance – images in which the brightest and darkest pixels differ in brightness by up to 100,000-to-1 – and how it affects visual processing.
It should improve situational awareness and intelligence while avoiding situations in which information is lost because the display is simply invisible in bright light.
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