Geographically-Enabled Augmented Reality System for Dismounted Soldiers

Period of Performance: 12/14/2005 - 06/14/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Milbert Engineering, Inc.
1835 Energy Park Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Principal Investigator


To maintain situational awareness during combat operations, dismounted soldiers require access to updated battlefield information. Currently, the United States Army's Land Warrior soldier system provides this information via an opaque monocular display that presents a two-dimensional moving map and battlefield messages. By placing this display over an eye, however, a soldier sacrifices his or her binocular vision, depth perception, and peripheral vision. In addition, the soldier must dedicate intellectual resources to mentally translating a two-dimensional overhead map to his or her three-dimensional surroundings. Primordial and ITT propose jointly solving these problems by designing a wearable augmented reality (AR) system that overlays visual cues derived from a Geospatial Information System (GIS) on the soldier's view of the battlefield. Our approach leverages the existing Primordial Soldier 1.4 platform that is slated for inclusion in the upcoming Future Force Warrior (FFW) Early User Evaluation (EUE) at Fort Benning. In addition, we will build on ITT's experiences in developing the $5 million Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Battlefield Augmented Reality System (BARS). We will begin by extending Primordial Soldier 1.4 to support efficient three-dimensional augmented reality rendering on a handheld. Specifically, we will develop an efficient spatial database and a real-time graphics engine. We will then evaluate existing augmented reality labeling techniques and modify them for a platform with limited processing power and memory. In addition, we will perform fightability assessments to determine the optimal design and configuration of visual cues for the warfighter. Whenever possible, we will use commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware to support processing, tracking, and interaction.