It’s 2017, and our lives have been so seamlessly integrated with advanced technology that often we overlook the amazing inventions popping up all around us. We’ve succumbed to simply accepting the new and intriguing as yet another innovation in “tech”. Which leads us to the subject of today’s piece — something you have probably already seen, but couldn’t remember the name — a Head-up Display.
In the beginning, there was light.
It’s probably best to start with the basics. A head-up display, more frequently referred to as a “HUD”, is any transparent, projected display of data, imagery or additional information that is visible without requiring an individual to look away from their usual viewpoint. This straightforward vantage point permits end users to, in fact, keep their head up at all times, encouraging them to keep their eyes on the most important information — the path ahead. Pretty straightforward concept, right?
Modern HUDs are the offspring of the reflector light, a well-known optical device that is best used for casting an aiming point in a specific field of view.
And as with most technology, the need to solve operational problems associated with the usage of the reflector lights led to its many significant advances. What followed were several attempts with additional radar displays, projectors, microwave frequency, and many mockups — eventually leading to the “artificial horizon” which HUDs can be easily identified by today. And this was all before 1956.
From 1956 onward, HUD development was fostered by a number of teams and continued to develop over the years. Eventually HUDs expanded into commercial aviation in the 1970s, and finally, automobiles, in 1988.
It's all in the details.
While the objective of a HUD is straightforward, there are several technologies driving today’s HUD experiences. Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), Light Emitting Diode (LED) and, more recently, Digital Light Processing (DLP) projectors have become the three primary projection systems of choice. While they all share the ability to project imagery to compliment the driving experience, each come with distinct trade offs. LCDs require filter maintenance and produce less contrast, LED projectors have limited brightness which can be problematic in bright daylight conditions, and DLPs use a series of mirrors and moving components to create bulky, pixel-dependent systems. Each of these technologies also projects a single display plane, and can only give the appearance of varied focal length through multiple projection systems.
What makes DAQRI Smart HUD™ special?
We use our newly invented holographic technology of Software Defined Light (SDL). Driven by SDL, our HUDs are far more efficient than traditional HUDs, significantly brighter, and have the ability to produce multiple depth displays unlike anything available on the road now.
More colors, multiple depths, and the ability to register information more quickly and efficiently means a safer driving experience — for you, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road.
Directions to a HUD near you.
Our first generation DAQRI Smart HUD™ is currently in hundreds of thousands of cars today, guiding us into the future. And with our soon-to-be released next generation of HUDs, it’s only a matter of time before DAQRI makes everyone’s drive a little safer and a whole lot better.