Laser Aircrew Safety and Education Demonstrator-Flight (LASED-F)

Period of Performance: 05/16/2000 - 02/16/2001

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nti, Inc.
927 Fred Johnston Drive
Fairborn, OH 45324
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Laser induced flashblindness is a recognized problem in both military and non-military environments. While there are active research programs on laser eye effects, and a laser hazard protocol that has been generated by the civilian and military communities, they do not go far enough, nor do they provide a vehicle for demonstrating, training and testing various laser eye protection procedures and equipment. Clearly a requirement exists for a portable, self-contained system that has an integrated visible laser unit and can be used for these purposes. This effort will identify the hardware and software to construct a low-cost, portable, self-contained unit that may be used to train pilots in the use of new technologies to reduce vision impairment effects, and perform research on performance effects of laser flashblindness and glare. Existing hardware for the delivery of laser stimuli will be used to produce a proof-of-concept system. Using this as a basis, a set of designs will be produced to meet the low-cost and portability requirements. The unit will be capable of running the F-PASS flight simulator software. This system will have scenario generation capability, run a variety of aeromodels of interest to the military, control laser exposure according to user specified parameters, and provide a variety of performance tests and measures. The system will be modular and extendable to a variety of other simulated environments (i.e. helicopters, ships, and vehicles). Commercial applications of this development extend to multiple military environments as well as to commercial aviation and perhaps other transportation industries. The development of this low-cost, portable demonstration, training and research system will be of considerable value in training in the use of techniques and technology which can minimize the disruptive effects of flashblindness. In addition, it will be an ideal device for continuing research to evaluate the effectiveness of countermeasures to laser exposure. Consequently, more systems will be able to be evaluated at lower cost, more pilots trained than otherwise possible and the best techniques and countermeasures will be passed on to the pilot community. In addition, the general design of this system should make possible training and evaluation in many contexts beyond laser effects.