US Navy Augments Underwater Reality With ‘Iron Man’ Helmet-Mounted HUD For Divers

VR and AR companies might have a huge focus on gaming right now, but both technologies can be extremely useful in many other practical, real-world applications as well. The Navy underscored this recently with the unveiling of a new augmented reality heads-up display that doesn't look quite as sleek at consumer VR kits, but it has a job that's of a far more critical nature than shooting zombies or putting shaped blocks in correct holes.

Straight out of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division comes the Divers Augmented Vision Display, a smart helmet of sorts that divers wear underwater to be fed lots of important information, very quickly, right in front of their eyes.

DAVD Military

We've seen what this helmet can do in science fiction movies. The wearer has an AR display that continually updates its information as the person carries out their mission. Such information could include sonar-based location data, text messages, photographs, diagrams, and even some AR video.

If the picture you are drawing in your head is reminiscent of a video game, it's an apt comparison. The press release even draws the same conclusion: "the DAVD system places the information right before diver's eyes with a look and feel comparable to a point-of-view video game display." It's your basic HUD, as we all know and love from countless game titles. 

Navy HUD Helmet

It's interesting to see a product so mission critical being compared to video games, but it's a very obvious use case. Anyone who puts on one of these DAVD devices is going to be in for an informative, perhaps surreal experience - all while likely being in the middle of an important mission.

While the product does look entertaining, with better visual cues, versus just traditional audio communications, the most important thing is that it will aide in providing real time data to the diver in mission critical situations.