The Impact of the U.S. Army's AH-64 Helmet Mounted Display on Future Aviation Helmet Design
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL
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Historically, the goal of aviation helmet design has been to primarily provide impact and noise protection to the user. In 1984, the U.S. Army fielded an advanced attack helicopter which required a new helmet concept in which the role of the helmet was expanded to provided a visually coupled interface between the aviator and the aircraft. This new helmet system, the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System IHADSS, uses a helmet fitted with infrared IR emitters and a monocular display. The IR emitters allow a slewable IR imaging sensor, mounted on the nose of the aircraft, to be slaved to the aviators head movements. Imagery from this sensor is presented to the aviator through the helmet mounted display. This type system generates several concerns, recognized early on, but still unresolved. These areas include questions of monocular vs. binocular imagery, eye dominance, and binocular rivalry. Additionally, the task of interfacing the aviators head to the aircraft has introduced previously unrecognized problems relating to head anthropometry and facial anatomy. The fitting process has become a crucial factor in the aviators ability to interface with the aircraft systems. The development and fielding of the IHADSS helmet mounted display have expanded the role and importance of the helmet. If helmet mounted displays are the design choice of future aircraft, it will be imperative to place increased emphasis on the human factors aspects of the helmet.
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