Darpa has shown off a new heads-up display for soldiers that uses Oculus Rift-like tracking to fix virtual markers on the real world view.
The display prototype, called Ultra-Vis, was shown off by Darpa at its Darpa Demo Days. It was described as a "holographic wave guide" display. This essentially means it is able to display images, in colour, onto the real world. Then it tracks a user's head movements with motion-sensing and location with GPS. This allows it to display fixed markers on real-world locations which stay there even when the user looks away and back again.
This kind of display is perfect for soldiers as it will mean they can mark targets, friendlies or waypoints and have them displayed clearly even when the soldier is looking about. It's the combination of displaying useful information while not obstructing vision that the military has been striving for.
The display will also be able to show video from drones allowing soldiers to see beyond their normal field of view. Plus it can be used for communication with other soldiers, base camp or even air support.
It all sounds like real war will start to look like war computer games. A slippery slope for detachment or a path to safer soldiers?