Retrofittable Tactical Head Up Display (RTHUD)

Period of Performance: 07/02/2013 - 03/28/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

SBG Labs Inc.
1288 Hammerwood Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: To date, waveguide displays have not gained wide acceptance. This is largely due to the fact that they can be used to expand the exit pupil but cannot be used to expand the field of view or improve angular resolution. SBG Labs has developed a break-through solution that overcomes these traditional limitations. We are currently leveraging this break-through to create a high-resolution tactical HMD. The key insight underlying this proposal is the realization that if our HMD were scaled in size and if the proposed innovations can be realized, it will be possible to create a HUD that meets the full suite of requirements for the RTHUD. The first innovation entails a technology improvement that significantly increases the angular bandwidth of our gratings. If successful, it will enable us to reduce the power requirements by 3x relative to current designs and by more than 4x relative to existing tactical HUDs. It addition, it will allow us to increase the visual acuity by 3x relative to our high-resolution HMD. The second innovation entails a technology improvement that will enable us to significantly reduce size, weight and cost of the system and, in the process, engineer a more compact, robust, affordable RTHUD. BENEFIT: If the technical objectives are achieved the chief benefit will be an HUD that meets the full suite of RTHUD requirements. Due to our novel optical design, the proposed system can meet the stipulated requirements for TFOV, visual acuity, power, brightness, and latency. Due to our compact monolithic architecture and solid-state electronics, the proposed system can meet the stipulated goals for size, weight, and durability. Due to our revolutionary manufacturing process, projected MTBF, and simplified installation and maintenance requirements, the proposed system can meet the targeted goals for LCC. With regard to manufacturability our monolithic integrated optical approach means that once NRE associated with mastering is completed component replication costs are greatly reduced since the optical complexity is contained in the various holographic optical elements. Assembly time is greatly reduced owing to the lower part count and faster, more alignment-tolerant assembly process. With holographic optical elements, the gold-standard masters created during the NRE phase can be used to manufacture replicas with the same high standard of quality, resulting in a much greater yield of high quality devices at a lower price point. The results of the work will be applied to HUDs for military and commercial applications. The technology is also relevant to automotive HUDs. We believe that the core technology and lessons learned from the project will also lead to improvements in other display applications such as HDDs.