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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Seeing the Way Clear for Bomb Disposal

From left to right, the HARV system is composed of: 1) Mk 8 sensor gimbal - 3-axis with 36:1 optical zoom daylight camera, night vision, and laser pointers (visible and infrared); 2) power MOLLE pouch with BB-2590 battery for eight hours operations; 3) operator control unit-4.5 pounds with data and video comms; 4) eMagin z800 visor, modified for helmet mount
HARV system mounted on Foster-Miller Talon explosive ordnance disposal robot in testing at Fort Bragg.
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Chatten Associates, Inc. (West Conshohocken, Penn.)
eMagin Corporation (Bellevue, Wash.)

The Challenge

Remotely operated robots make scouting for road-side bombs and bomb disposal much safer. The challenge has been effective controls-reaction times for users working at traditional direct-view displays with game-like controllers was simply too slow. Searching for hidden secondary improvised explosive devices took too long and was not effective.

The Solution

Developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA, Chatten Associates' head-aimed remote viewer (HARV) brings tele-operations effectiveness to remotely operated vehicles. By providing a compelling level of telepresence, HARV creates a several-fold increase in situational awareness and decision speed. Its head-aimed vision process harnesses the natural visual processing capability of the human mind at an unconscious level. The result is a 300 percent to 400 percent increase in mission performance and tele-robotic productivity.

With HARV, wherever the soldier looks, the sensor gimbal-mounted on the vehicle looks. Providing the imaging and tracking the soldier's head movement is a modified version of eMagin's Z800 3DVisor™.

Tests of target identification show that head-aiming is twice as effective as joystick-aiming at iden­tifying hostile targets. Head-aiming has a much lower error rate. In controlled testing, over 15 percent of the hostile targets identified by subjects using joystick-aiming were actually friendly forces. Head-aiming also provides two to three times more accuracy for weapons aiming than joystick aiming.

The HARV with its modified eMagin visor weighs a few pounds and is very affordable. The HARV system brings the performance of high-end aviation systems to the soldier in the field.

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