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Physical Optics gets HECAD emergency responder contract from HSARPA

Homeland security systems integrator Physical Optics Corp. received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award for Phase II of the Helmet Embedded Conformal Augmented Display (HECAD) system.

In collaboration with the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), said the company, the HECAD Phase II award will provide two-year funding for continued work on an embedded "heads-up" display to increase personal situation awareness for emergency responder, said the company.

The HECAD system, said Physical Optics (POC), is based on a modular design that integrates miniature commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) micro displays and includes POC's see-through, low-profile waveguide optics, and lightweight, wearable, processing electronics and sensors.

The next development segment builds on the success of Phase I, in which POC provided see-through display results, including longwave-infrared (LWIR) sensor data in real time for demonstrating augmented reality capability, while consuming very low power. The company said it also developed the appropriate support electronics, software, and end-user-driven symbology, by working closely with end users and equipment manufacturers. Other Phase I accomplishments included the successful design of lightweight and compact mechanical packaging, said the company, resulting in an advanced mockup and the first in-mask, active-matrix display with full-motion video.

In Phase II, POC said it will continue development of HECAD prototypes to enable advanced situation awareness by selectively displaying potentially life-saving information and real-time video from imaging sensors. The real-time data from LWIR cameras and sensors will be shown on a see-through, heads-up display that will not occlude the user's visual field-of-view. Testing and evaluating performance in realistic field environments to determine the functionality, cost, and ease of use will also be addressed. Throughout Phase II, POC will continue to work closely with the local emergency responders and commercial equipment manufacturers to create the next-gen helmet.


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