The military display market is analyzed in terms of four of its segments: avionics, vetronics,
dismounted soldier, and command and control. Requirements are summarized for a number of
technology-driving parameters, to include luminance, night vision imaging system compatibility,
gray levels, resolution, dimming range, viewing angle, video capability, altitude, temperature, shock
and vibration, etc., for direct-view and virtual-view displays in cockpits and crew stations. Technical
specifications are discussed for selected programs.
Active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) technology is one candidate to become a low power alternative
in some applications to the currently dominant, active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD), technology.
Furthermore, fabrication of the AMOLED on stainless steel (SS) foil rather than the traditional glass substrate, while
presenting a set of severe technical challenges, opens up the potential for displays that are both lighter and less
breakable. Also, transition to an SS foil substrate may enable rollable displays - large when used but small for stowage
within gear already worn or carried or installed. Research has been initiated on AMOLED/SS technology and the first
320 x 240 color pixel 4-in. demonstration device has been evaluated in the AFRL Display Test and Evaluation
Laboratory. Results of this evaluation are reported along with a research roadmap.
A low-power, yet sunlight readable, display is needed for dismounted applications where the user must carry the power source. Such a display could potentially replace paper checklists and maps with electronic counterparts. A reflective active matrix electrophoretic ink display (AMEPID) was evaluated as a candidate technology for such applications. This display technology uses ambient illumination, rather than competing with it, and requires power only when rewriting the display. The device was tested for viewability under a variety of lighting conditions. Readability of displayed text, as compared to standard print on white paper, was evaluated in an indoor office environment and in outdoor lighting conditions. Viewability of the display with night vision goggles (NVGs) was evaluated under simulated full moon, starlight, and overcast illumination conditions. Objective measurements of luminance, contrast ratio and reflectance were conducted under corresponding irradiance conditions and viewing angles using state-of-the-art photometric and radiometric measurement equipment. In addition to visible spectrum measurements, infrared (IR) reflectance and contrast were measured for the extended spectrum of 720-1700 nm. Results are discussed in terms of performance criteria for military displays, which are often much more demanding than for civil applications.
Digital displays will play a critical role in providing a common battlespace picture whether in the aircraft cockpit, command and control facility or carried by ground troops. Advanced display technologies will be key to providing our warfighters with needed information. The purpose of the Display Characterization Facility at Wright-Patterson AFB is to provide quantitative performance data on current and upcoming display technologies and evaluate these technologies for specific Air Force applications. This requires an understanding not only of the specific display technology and its capabilities and limitations but also the capabilities and limitations of the human visual system, the tasks to be performed and characteristics of the environment which may affect the operator-display interaction. To this end, the Display Characterization Laboratory conducts both display hardware measurements and assessments of human performance using the displays under expected environmental conditions. Common display measurements are described along with their implications for operator visual performance.
The wrist watch needs an upgrade. Recent advances in optoelectronics, microelectronics, and communication theory have established a technology base that now make the multimedia Dick Tracy watch attainable during the next decade. As a first step towards stuffing the functionality of an entire personnel computer (PC) and television receiver under a watch face, we have set a goal of providing wrist video capability to warfighters. Commercial sector work on the wrist form factor already includes all the functionality of a personal digital assistant (PDA) and full PC operating system. Our strategy is to leverage these commercial developments. In this paper we describe our use of a 2.2 in. diagonal color active matrix light emitting diode (AMOLED) device as a wrist-mounted display (WMD) to present either full motion video or computer generated graphical image formats.
Personnel in airport control towers monitor and direct the takeoff of outgoing aircraft, landing of incoming aircraft and all movements of aircraft on the ground. Although the primary source of information for the Local Controller, Assistant Local Controller and the Ground Controller is the real world viewed through the windows of the control tower, electronic displays are also used to provide situation awareness. Due to the criticality of the work to be performed by the controllers and the rather unique environment of the air traffic control tower, display hardware standards, which have been developed for general use, are not directly applicable. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requested assistance of Air Force Research Laboratory Human Effectiveness Directorate in producing a document which can be adopted as a Tower Display Standard usable by display engineers, human factors practitioners and system integrators. Particular emphasis was placed on human factors issues applicable to the control tower environment and controller task demands.
Holographically formed polymer dispersed liquid crystal (HPDLC) materials meet the requirements for a video rate reflective display. In order to produce a saturated color from a Bragg reflector, the number of index changing layers becomes critical. The fabrication process affects the number of layers forming the reflector, and, as a result, the bandwidth and optical characteristics, including reflection intensity, direction, and spread, of the reflector. The cell thickness and the liquid crystal mixture affect the voltage at which the cell operates and the speed at which the liquid crystal material can switch from the reflective to non-reflective state. The cell designer is forced to work with all of these design parameters simultaneously. This research continues previous work evaluating reflective HPDLC display samples including a method to measure temporal response and refine color reflection characterization.
Holographically formed polymer dispersed light crystal (HPDLC) materials have the potential to enable creation of a full motion video rate reflective display technology with excellent color, contrast, reflectance and good power efficiency. Current HPDLC display research focuses on the improvement of angular viewability and reduction of the drive voltage. Measurements of HPDLC devices have begun at AFRL to verify and expand measurements made by dpiX LLC. Specular and diffuse reflections are examined in terms of angular and spectral reflectance distributions. Presently reported measurements verify the ability of an HPDLC device to shift the reflected signal image away from the front- surface substrate specular angle (source image glare) by some 10 degree(s) and to expand the spread of the reflected signal image (full-width-half maximum) from a bout 1-2 degree(s) to 4- 10 degree(s) for a point illumination source under worst orientation conditions. Colors were stable over 20 degree(s) of viewing angle. Potential defense applications include replacing paper in cockpits and crewstations.
The active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) has become the preferred flight instrument technology in avionics multifunction display applications. Current bubble canopy fighter cockpit applications involve sizes up to 7.8 X 7.8 in. active display. Dual use avionics versions of AMLCD technology are now as large as 6.7 X 6.7 in. active display area in the ARINC D sized color multifunction display (MFD). This is the standard instrument in all new Boeing transport aircraft and is being retrofitted into the C-17A. A special design of the ARINC D instrument is used in the Space Shuttle cockpit upgrade. Larger sizes of AMLCD were desired when decisions were made in the early 1990s for the F-22. Commercial AMLCD technology has now produced monitors at 1280 X 1024 resolution (1.3 megapixels) in sizes of 16 to 21 in. diagonal. Each of these larger AMLCDs has more information carrying capacity than the entire F-22A cockpit instrument panel shipset, comprising six separate smaller AMLCDs (1.2 megapixels total). The larger AMLCDs are being integrated into airborne mission crewstations for use in dim ambient lighting conditions. It is now time to identify and address the technology challenges of upgrading these larger AMLCDs for sunlight readable application and of developing concepts for their integration into advanced bubble canopy fighter cockpits. The overall goals are to significantly increase the informational carrying capacity to bring both sensor and information fusion into the cockpit and, thereby, to enable a significant increase in warfighter situational awareness and effectiveness. A research cockpit was built using specialized versions of the IBM 16.1 in and two smaller 10 in. AMLCDs to examine human factors and display design issues associated with these next-generation AMLCD cockpit displays. This cockpit was later upgraded to allow greater reconfigurability and flexibility in the display hardware used to conduct part- task mission simulations. The objective optical characterization of the AMLCDs used in this simulator and the cockpit design are described. Display formats under consideration for test in this cockpit are described together with some of the basic human factors engineering issues involved. Studies conducted in this cockpit will be part of an ongoing joint effort of the hardware-focused aerospace displays team and the pilot-focused human factors team in the Air Force Research Laboratory's Crew System Interface Division. The objective of these studies is to ascertain the payoffs of the large AMLCD promise in combat cockpits.
Display technologies for the B-52 were selected some 40 years ago have become unsupportable. Electromechanical and old cathode ray tube technologies, including an exotic six-gun 13 in. tube, have become unsupportable due to the vanishing vendor syndrome. Thus, it is necessary to insert new technologies which will be available for the next 40 years to maintain the capability heretofore provided by those now out of favor with the commercial sector. With this paper we begin a look at the status of displays in the B-52H, which will remain in inventory until 2046 according to current plans. From a component electronics technology perspective, such as displays, the B-52H provides several 10-year life cycle cost (LCC) planning cycles to consider multiple upgrades. Three Productivity, Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (PRAM) projects are reviewed to replace 1950s CRTs in several sizes: 3, 9, and 13 in. A different display technology has been selected in each case. Additional display upgrades in may be anticipated and are discussed.
High-resolution display technologies are being developed to meet the ever-increasing demand for realistic detail. The requirement for evermore visual information exceeds the capacity of fielded aerospace display interfaces. In this paper we begin an exploration of display interfaces and evolving aerospace requirements. Current and evolving standards for avionics, commercial, and flat panel displays are summarized and compared to near term goals for military and aerospace applications. Aerospace and military applications prior to 2005 up to UXGA and digital HDTV resolution can be met by using commercial interface standard developments. Advanced aerospace requirements require yet higher resolutions (2560 X 2048 color pixels, 5120 X 4096 color pixels at 85 Hz, etc.) and necessitate the initiation of discussion herein of an 'ultra digital interface standard (UDIS)' which includes 'smart interface' features such as large memory and blazingly fast resizing microcomputer. Interface capacity, IT, increased about 105 from 1973 to 1998; 102 more is needed for UDIS.
3D threat projection has been shown to decrease the human recognition time for events, especially for a jet fighter pilot or C4I sensor operator when the advantage of realization that a hostile threat condition exists is the basis of survival. Decreased threat recognition time improves the survival rate and results from more effective presentation techniques, including the visual cue of true 3D (T3D) display. The concept of 'font' describes the approach adopted here, but whereas a 2D font comprises pixel bitmaps, a T3D font herein comprises a set of hologram bitmaps. The T3D font bitmaps are pre-computed, stored, and retrieved as needed to build images comprising symbols and/or characters. Human performance improvement, hologram generation for a T3D symbol font, projection requirements, and potential hardware implementation schemes are described. The goal is to employ computer-generated holography to create T3D depictions of a dynamic threat environments using fieldable hardware.
There are a variety of displays that use light valve devices for controlling the color and intensity of the light forming an image. The purpose of the light valve is to modulate the available light as efficiently as possible to produce an image either for direct view or projection to a screen. Display types include classic oil film light valves, lead lantanum zirconium titanate (PLZT) devices, active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs), liquid crystal light valves (LCLV), the digital micromirror device (DMD), and acousto-optic (AO) modulated and scanned laser projectors. Traditional military applications of light valve devices include flight instruments, helmet mounted displays, fixed and mobile command and control/situation large screen displays, and simulator projectors. This paper addresses high performance applications of light valve display technologies, including applications, requirements, and characteristics for applications incorporating light valve devices.
With the advancements made in flat panel display technology and the insertion of these displays within military and civil application, there is a need to establish standardization of active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDS) while this process is in it's infancy. Currently, there are no accepted civil or military standards covering AMLCDS. Since the proliferation of this technology has found a place within DOD applications, a best practices document in the form of a standard was created in 1993. This paper covers the changes made in the third evolution of the 'Draft Standard for Color Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays (AMLCDS) for US Military Aircraft, Recommended Best Practices'. This document is published by the Air Force through Wright Laboratory as WL-TR-93-1177 in Jun 94. This paper covers the background and future plans for the document as well as four key revisions: Applicability documents review, Display configurations, Testing and Test standards, and Electrical interfaces.