The Army Is Outfitting Troops With A Futuristic New Heads-Up Display

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A Tactical Augmented Reality (DAR) screenshot, courtesy of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC)

A Tactical Augmented Reality (DAR) screenshot, courtesy of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC)

The U.S. Army is developing a brand new piece of technology ripped straight out of “Call of Duty” — Tactical Augmented Reality, a heads-up display designed to enhance situational awareness under any conditions.

A one-inch by one-inch eyepiece, the TAR was developed by Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center as the equivalent of night-vision goggles on steroids. The eyepiece constantly feeds GPS and video data through a monochromatic heads-up display that functions day or night, from a 2D overlay of an area of operations to real-time designating fellow squadmates, mission targets and enemy forces.

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The TAR technology enables a tiny, heads-up display attached to the helmet, as modeled by Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer, a counterterrorism non-commissioned officer at CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, during Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 18, 2017.Photo via DoD

Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer, a counterterrorism NCO at CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, said that the eyepiece can connect wirelessly to a soldier’s body camera, a tactical tablet like these recently ordered by the service, and even the thermal sight mounted on an assault weapon.

Through a split screen, a soldier can peek downrange by raising his rifle above cover without exposing himself.

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The TAR unit.Photo via DoD

Most importantly, each TAR augments situational awareness not just for individual soldiers, but entire units. According to Greer, the TAR’s wireless uplink allows troops to share info with far-flung comrades on the battlefield or back at HQ.

When you describe it like that, it really does like a “Call Of Duty” comms channel with fewer adolescent boys and gay jokes. Just look at the damn video:

According to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), several TAR prototypes are already getting a workout with “certain units” downrange.

We can’t wait to see the DoD’s highlight reel of these guys in action — just as soon as I’m done with this game.