3DIcon Meets with Air Force to Discuss 3D Imaging Applications

Members of 3DIcon and Schott Defense recently met with Air Force Subject Matter Experts on displays at the Battlespace Visualization Branch (RHCV) of the US Air Force Research Lab located in Dayton, OH. RHCV performs R&D on warfighter visual interfaces to improve weapon system effectiveness, with a primary goal being to develop visualizations that enhance understanding and information assimilation to facilitate situational awareness and sense making. Staff at RHCV has recently been investigating 3D technology, and how it can be used as a tool to advance the warfighter. They evaluated more than 180 experiments spanning 51 years and concluded that stereoscopic 3D display viewing improved performance over traditional non-stereo (2D) displays in 60% of the reported experiments. Their findings were published earlier this year, “Stereoscopic 3D displays and human performance: A comprehensive review”, J.P. McIntire et al. / Displays 35 (2014) 18–26. A key customer of RHCV that continues to express interest in 3D displays is the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Acquisition Program Management Office for Battle Management Systems. 3D visualization would enhance the 2D and 2.5D (simulated 3D) capability currently used in an Air Operations Center as shown in the picture below. These centers contain 300 plus people and an equivalent number of displays. While a desktop, glasses-free 3D volumetric display is ultimately desired, early adoption would be centrally located glasses-free 3D volumetric displays that would enable collaborative decision-making. These early adopters could be limited to single color alone, followed by multi-color. Early adoption could also be limited to object tracking alone, followed by more complete visualization of the battlespace. The Air Force has yet to find a solution that meets their needs, with the latest attempts being flat surface 3D displays. These past attempts failed to meet contract milestones, provided less than desired resolution, required excessive amounts of computing power and resulting energy, or resulted in limited viewing angle. 3DIcon’s CSpace glasses-free volumetric display technology was well received during the meeting and a follow-up is planned to further discuss its potential applications.
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