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These High-Tech Diving Helmets Will Give The U.S. Navy Superhero Vision

Jun 22, 2016 05:06 AM EDT
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The U.S. Navy is developing high-tech diving helmets that will help keep naval divers safe during underwater missions.

The device, which is called the Diver Augmented Vision Display (DAVD), features a transparent HD heads-up display (HUD) embedded directly into the diving helmet. This allows divers to view instrument readings and other data on the see-through display.

"By building this HUD directly inside the dive helmet instead of attaching a display on the outside, it can provide a capability similar to something from an 'Ironman' movie," Dennis Gallagher, underwater systems development project engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, said in a press release.

"You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet," Gallagher added.

Like the Google Glass, DAVD is an augmented reality system that displays real-time information such as diagrams, text messages and videos. With these data available in real time, divers can carry out their missions safely and effectively.

The device can also help provide the diver with situational awareness while underwater, with a topside view of the diver's location and dive site on display. This feature is useful when divers need to navigate around murky waters.

"Instead of having to rely on pre-dive briefings alone to determine what they are looking for, how specific items should appear and where they may be located, the DAVD system places the information right before divers' eyes with a look and feel comparable to a point-of-view video game display," the U.S. Navy said.

According to the U.S. Navy, the system can be used in underwater constructions and salvage operations, and could eventually be used by first responders and the commercial diving community.

Gallagher and his team are now working on phase two of the project, where components are being designed to include both helmet systems and full face masks.

The U.S. Navy will begin in-water simulation testing in October and field testing is expected to start in 2017.

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