Holographic Heads Up Display

Holographic Heads Up Display

New heads up display technology developed by the University of Arizona will make it easier for drivers and pilots to see information, while viewing the outside world. The existing technology has a small eye box, meaning that the displayed information partially or wholly disappears if uses shift their gaze too much. The new, innovative approach is aiming to fix that.

A heads-up display using our new technology installed in a car would allow a driver to see the displayed information even if he or she moved around or was shorter or taller than average, said Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, research team leader at the University of Arizona.

Researchers demonstrate in ‘The Optical Society Journal Applied Optics’ a functional prototype heads up display that uses holographic optical elements to achieve an eye box substantially larger than what is available at the moment. The researchers said that their approach could be turned into a commercial product in as little as a few years and might also be used to increase the size of the displayed area.

Increasing the size of either the eye box or the displayed image in a traditional heads-up display requires increasing the size of the projection optics, relay lenses and all the associated optics, which takes up too much space in the dashboard, explained Colton Bigler, a doctoral student in Blanche’s laboratory. Instead of relying on conventional optics, we use holography to create a thin optical element that can be ultimately applied onto a windshield directly.

The new holograms will use the same laser light interactions used to protect credit cards from forgery. These holographic elements are not only smaller than traditional optical components but can be mass manufactured because they are easily fabricated. The holographic optical elements will redirect light from a small image into a piece of glass, where it is confined until it reaches another holographic optical element that extracts the light. The extraction hologram then presents a viewable image with a larger eye box size than the original image.

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