Innovation

How ODG wants to use AR to save the lives of pilots

Smartglasses manufacturer ODG has created a HUD-enabled oxygen mask for pilots in emergency situations, creating one more practical use for augmented reality tech.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • AR glasses manufacturer ODG has released a new emergency mask for airplane pilots that has a heads-up display (HUD) and external aircraft camera connections, making landing in an emergency situation much easier.
  • Emergency use of AR is just one more way in which this new technology is becoming practical for businesses—look for it to have an application in yours soon.

Osterhout Design Group (ODG), maker of AR-enabled smartglasses, has announced a new product designed to help pilots make safe landings in emergency situations: Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display, or SAVED.

The new AR-enabled emergency mask allows pilots to see clearly in a smoke-filled cabin, allowing them to continue to fly safely. The FAA said that smoke is the number one cause of emergency landings and the fourth leading cause of aircraft loss and flight-related fatality.

SAVED masks give pilots access to the aircraft's HUD and external cameras, providing them with a clear picture of their surroundings and essential flight information. SAVED is being piloted with FedEx Express planes, with ODG planning to make it available to civilian and government agencies in the future.

AR's many practical uses

Anyone can experience augmented reality through the use of smartphone apps that overlay graphics onto the real world, but those sorts of applications have limited use, making them novelties at best.

That doesn't mean AR doesn't excel at practical applications—it just takes dedicated hardware, like smartglasses, to make it useful.

AR has already found a home in the healthcare industry, and products like the Microsoft HoloLens were specifically designed with industrial, educational, and commercial uses in mind.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

Heads-up displays, like those in the SAVED mask, have countless applications—just think about anyone in the workplace who could benefit from instant information in their field of vision. First responders, in particular, could benefit greatly from HUD-enabled technology; patents to create HUD-enabled firefighting equipment have already been filed, in fact.

2018 has been predicted to be a banner year for AR technology, led by companies like ODG, Microsoft, Google, and others. Industrial, ecommerce, and retail companies are all reported to be experimenting with AR technology. 67% of enterprise-level businesses, have considered adopting AR in some form.

As stated above, dedicated hardware makes AR more useful, but that doesn't mean it can't be used in the enterprise from a smartphone. Our sister site ZDNet reported on one example from a trade show in Las Vegas where an AR smartphone app provided contextual information about a slot machine, which made a technician's job much simpler.

It's easy to see that kind of smartphone app extended to the IT world—smartphone software could be designed to help technicians make quick diagnoses of workstation problems or find a bad port in a large switch.

It's hard to overstate how useful AR could be to almost every industry in the future—expect it to show up in yours sooner rather than later.

Also see

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Image: ODG

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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