Ukrainian Engineers Develop Augmented-Reality Tank Helmet
The Augmented reality tank helmet is designed to observe through tank armor, determining the enemy's equipment, and to monitor the level of fuel and ammunition
Ukrainian engineers created a helmet that allows its users to be immersed in augmented reality as a tank crewman.
“Our main area of focus is hardware development. As you can see, helmets, cameras and information handling units are assembled here into complexes. And software development as well. Here, they develop computer vision software. We create 360-degree panoramas out of video filmed by cameras. Our separate area is artificial intelligence. We have a trained neural network, which detects 13 classes of weaponry, and distinguishes civilians and military,” Project Manager Mykhaylo Hrechukhin said.
He thought up with the helmet when he served as a tank crewman in Donbas.
“Our tank was blown up in the Donetsk region. Driving through this area, I was constantly thinking of how difficult it was to monitor the situation in a heavy vehicle. For example, if I needed to see mines, I would have to try and spot it myself through the commanders’ hatch. After demobilization, I started to work on a non-military project connected with augmented reality. In 2016, I decided to solve the problem of poor visibility in armored vehicles with the help of this technology,” Hrechukhin said.
The helmet is one element of the system that allows the crew to see the tank’s surroundings.
“The system consists of a set of cameras, a central processing module, and, in fact, a helmet. It integrates Microsoft Hololens, and it is enhanced with electronics. During the installation, we place our cameras on the tanks and capture the entire view to minimize blind spots. Then calibrate it and display the 360° image with the help of glasses,” Head of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision Yehor Morylev said.
Using the images from the cameras, the crewmen see additional information – the vehicle’s speed, a map of the area, the sight of the weapon, and the level of fuel and ammunition. The displayed data depends on the person’s role in the crew and the combat situation.
“Drivers, mechanics or shooters have completely different tasks. We show them absolutely different modules. Rangefinders, targets, weapon indicators are for shooters. Navigation is for drivers. We can also show ways of avoiding a minefield,” Head of the Design Department Denys Davydov said.
The interface of the helmet is easy to understand for servicemen from different countries. The Ukrainian company not only implements NATO standards but also takes part in their development.
“After the information was published in Western news media, we were noticed by the head of a NATO group dealing with standardization and augmented reality systems for armored fighting vehicles. And through Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, he invited us to become members of this group. We offer our own version of data visualization. It has already been taken as a basis and we expect an official approval in May,” Hrechukhin said.
The company has already presented its work at international arms expositions and found potential clients. It’s planned that the Ukrainian Army will receive the systems for free.