The U.S. Army Research Laboratory discovered a new AR technology to overcome bright lighting conditions during the day by using low contrast dimming highlights. This opens up new research questions that will 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 be used to 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 has the potential for laser eye protection as well.