Inspired fictions and military realities
It’s blockbuster season, and Hollywood is, once again, delivering sequels and reboots galore for summer filmgoers. Among them is a recently released installment of Mission Impossible, which features new, futuristic technology designed to help save the world.
In past Mission Impossible films, an augmented reality contact lens worn by the main character, Ethan Hunt, assists him in identifying targets as he scans a crowd. Targets and non-targets are identified in Hunt’s field of vision as the contact lens overlays symbology on the crowd to tell him who is a threat and who is not. When the target is identified, he is able to take immediate action.
While this type of contact lens may still be a few years down the road, other futuristic technologies envisioned by Hollywood are becoming a reality – some brought to you by Thales.
The Thales TopOwl, in use onboard the U.S. Marine Corps’ Viper Helicopter, is a helmet-mounted display that becomes an extension of a pilot’s eyes, movements and actions. By integrating directly with flight and fire controls, the Top Owl can be used as the pilot’s main interface with the helicopter, providing mission critical information directly in the pilots’ field of view, no matter what direction they are looking.
Like the Mission Impossible contact lens, Top Owl creates a visual assistant in mission critical environments. And also like the lens, it relies on data that is converted into easy-to-understand, actionable graphics to enable split-second decision making.
In Hollywood and real-world solutions, data is presented in a way that is visual and simple. Like Ethan Hunt’s contact lens, Thales’ solutions present real-time information that allows the user to remain focused on the mission. For pilots using Top Owl, this means their eyes remain on target, while our system keeps them aware of terrain, speed, position and other aircraft.
In short, the Hollywood version of display technology and the real thing are converging today – making critical missions involving safety and security less Impossible.