The Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II are two of the most advanced warplanes ever designed and come replete with bleeding-edge, motion-tracking, x-ray-vision-enabled helmets. But why should Air Force pilots have all the fun?
Epson's Moverio smart glasses have been on the market for a couple of years now, but have hereunto been used primarily in medical and logistical settings. But the latest Moverio iteration, the BT-200's, now offer an advanced HUD function for amatuer pilots similar to what our fighting forces enjoy. According to a recent Epson press release:
Micro projectors located on each side of the eyeglasses project transparent overlays of digital content directly in the user's field of view over the real-world environment. In addition, the Moverio BT-200 glasses contain sensors such as a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetic compass for head-motion tracking and hands-free navigation. A front-facing camera for video and image capture also detects real-world markers for augmented reality (AR) applications.
And when integrated with an app from Aero, these BT-200s become the Aero Glass: "a unique turnkey solution addressing pilots' need to properly visualize terrain, navigation, traffic (ADS-B), instrument, weather, and airspace information with access to vital safety procedures and protocols, without the requirement of inspecting instruments, phone or iPad" according to the press release. The technology aims to keep pilots' eyes on the skies, where they should be, not buried in a flight manual.
"While helmet displays have been tested by the military, Aero Glass is thrilled to join Epson to deliver the first augmented reality solution to General Aviation pilots at a price order of magnitude cheaper than military technology." Cameron Clarke, VP Business Development at Aero Glass, said. "Our Pioneer Beta Program has generated significant interest from aviation early adopters and we'll work with that community and Epson to enhance our products, making the skies safer for all aviators."
The $700 BT-200's are currently available for purchase from Epson, with promises of added functionality, including Terrain elevation, landing procedures, ILS approach cones, FLARM traffic, live weather, and 3D terrain and obstacle avoidance.