BAE Systems designs lightweight but rugged AR glasses

September 14, 2017 // By Julien Happich
At the DSEI trade show in London this week, military equipment provider BAE Systems is exhibiting a conceptual demonstration of lightweight but rugged augmented reality glasses for military and commercial customers.

The system, still under development, is to fit comfortably like a normal pair of glasses and use free-space tracking technology to display guidance, targeting, and mission information to the user, along with a HD video feed when necessary.

In contrast to military wearable displays available today, which are typically bulky, heavy, or unadaptable, BAE Systems’ solution aims to be lightweight, relying on its patented waveguide technology.

Protected by an external visor, the waveguide display, consists of integrated polymer or glass gratings sandwiched into glasses or polymers of different refractive indexes, so the end result is an artefact-free glass which outputs the light from display projectors mounted in the branches of the smart glasses.

"The most similar systems are commercial products, some feature simple displays that are rugged, or high resolution displays but are not tough enough. We can provide symbols and deliver daylight-readable HD-video even in harsh environments" told us Mark Wilkins, engineering product manager for the AR glasses at BAE Systems.

The system will be aimed at dismounted soldiers, commercial pilots, or emergency responders, but also possibly at high performance athletes.

"At the moment, this is a concept and we have a working demonstrator to show user groups in our target markets. We are working towards an advanced prototype by the middle of next year", Wilkins said.