Special NASA glasses enable pilots to see through fog

special nasa glasses enable pilots to see through fog foggy airportThese days, depending on the location of the runway and the technology on board the aircraft, many commercial airliners are able to land in foggy conditions. Once on the ground, however, things can get tricky. Ground controllers can’t see the planes, while pilots have little or no visibility as they try to navigate their way to the gate.

Indeed, fog was a contributing factor in the worst ever aviation disaster when two Boeing 747s collided at an airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife in 1977 with the loss of 583 lives.

If pilots could see the way ahead in foggy weather, they’d be able to confidently and safely get the plane to the terminal building without having to refer to maps of the airport, taking their eyes off what’s immediately in front.special nasa glasses enable pilots to see through fog headgear

With this problem in mind, NASA has been working on producing a pair of augmented reality glasses which would allow pilots to see a virtual representation of the airstrip and taxiing routes.

The headset, which weighs less than a quarter of a pound (113g), incorporates a lens that fits over one eye, providing the pilot with a variety of information, as well as a virtual view of the surroundings. It’s even designed to track head movements, quickly providing an accurate and realistic virtual image for the pilot.

Speaking about the special headgear, Trey Arthur, an electronics engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia where the glasses have been developed, said, “If pilots are not familiar with the airport, they have to stop and pull out maps. This display, in the new world where these routes are going to be digital, can tell them what taxiway they’re on, where they need to go, where they’re headed, and how well they’re tracking the runway’s center line.”

Similar heads-up display (HUD) technology is already used by pilots of some military aircraft, and while many of the latest commercial airliners have this kind of technology as part of the cockpit instruments, it has up to now lacked NASA’s head-tracking technology. In tests, pilots rated the headset higher than the cockpit technology which provided them with similar information.

The US space agency made the technology available for commercialization earlier this month, though Trey Arthur is still working to improve the headgear.

[Source: Innovation News Daily] [Image: Cheryl Casey / Shutterstock]

Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Tiny animals discovered in Antarctic lake deep beneath the ice

Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica: the carcasses of tiny animals including crustaceans and a tardigrade were found in a lake that sits deep beneath over half a mile of Antarctic ice.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.