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Microvision Augments Helicopters with Display Technology

Bothell, Wash.-based Microvision Inc. is using its advanced display technology to change the way military helicopter cockpits work -- and possibly the way other military and commercial aircraft, or even ground vehicles, work as well.

The company, known for its retinal scanning display technology and micro miniature scanning technology, Wednesday shipped its prototype helmet-mounted display system to the U.S. Army as part of its contract for the Virtual Cockpit Optimization Program (VCOP). The Boeing Company's Mesa, Ariz. helicopter facility will integrate the helmet with supporting elements of the VCOP system, including the Rotorcraft Pilot's Associate mission-management software.

As the pilot of the aircraft looks out of the cockpit, the helmet display will overlay targeting, navigational or terrain information, replacing many of the existing dials and multifunction displays in today's cockpits. Also, a virtual cockpit can be upgraded by replacing the hardware and changing the software, a cost savings over replacing or re-wiring a current cockpit's hardware and upgrading all of the integrated software and supporting elements in an existing helicopter's avionics suite.

The Microvision prototype system will be tested in both operational aircraft and in flight simulators.