Diving isn't really a field that gets much in the way of tech; at least when compared to, say, space travel, with its sexy technological upgrades that seem to appear daily. Most underwater explorers still rely on the trusty scuba gear or diving equipment.

But this just changed with the announcement of a new development in diving tech: in-helmet HUD for divers.

Called the Divers Augmented Reality Display, or DAVD, the idea is a U.S. Navy project that envisions a high-resolution, heads-up display embedded in a diving helmet.

This unique system will enable divers to have real-time visual display of everything from sector sonar (real-time topside view of the diver's location and dive site), text messages, diagrams, photographs and even augmented reality videos.

Lab simulation view of an augmented reality image of an airplane through DAVD. Credit: U.S. Navy

The key advantage that something like DAVD will provide is depth perception. Divers often find themselves in low-visibility situations, and DAVD could potentially overlay muddy waters with a real-time map created by miniaturized high-resolution sonar.

While HUDs have been standard fare for fighter jets and other military hardware, the deployment of an underwater visual augmentation system such as DAVD is unique—and may prove to be an important new tool for undersea explorers and archaeologists.

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