Pilots get electronic eyes

Helmet-mounted displays help fighter pilots to have eyes in the back of their head. They use them to read instrument panels, track enemy aircraft picked up by thermal imagers and see ahead, all at once. Testing helmets to evaluate them before purchase was a problem for defence research body DERA. The solution developed by instrument […]

Helmet-mounted displays help fighter pilots to have eyes in the back of their head. They use them to read instrument panels, track enemy aircraft picked up by thermal imagers and see ahead, all at once.

Testing helmets to evaluate them before purchase was a problem for defence research body DERA.

The solution developed by instrument maker Sira is an electronic version of a real eye. But it can simulate the pilot’s view and then evaluate image quality. Results are objective and consistent.

Sira’s ‘artificial eye’ has other roles. Modular, the eye can be set up to test various levels of complexity from measuring astigmatism in lenses to evaluating VDUs.

The design is based on a CCD camera. The module’s optical system forms a real image from a virtual image generated by a test piece, Sira says.