Well, I know a lot of you have been wondering what my little avionics project has been up to lately, so here's the scoop.
On January 22nd, in Sebring, Florida, I attended the Light Sport Plane Expo for our first public showing of my "VirtualHUD" Heads Up Display for small aircraft. If you remember, or for those of you who don't know, I invented a new type of heads up display for small aircraft that projects the HUD images on to the surface created by the spinning propeller. I've been working on this little side project for about 3 years now, which was a follow on into my own "glass panel" development that I was doing for a research project.
Anyway, at the show, we announced our first product, the NightVU, which is a portable Heads Up Display that contains all it's own navigation and attitude sensors. It's a hand held unit the uses a standard suction cup style mount to attach to the windshield. The unit points forward and projects the HUD data out the windshield and onto the back of the spinning propeller. The reception and responses we received from the everybody who saw it was tremendous and let us know that we are on exactly the right track.
The first unit is only designed for night time use, but we've partnered with Forward.Vision to include cool support for their Forward Looking Infrared Camera, the EVS-100. Now, pilots can fly into total darkness, but still see directly in front of them via the combination of the EVS-100 and the NightVU. It essentially turns the propeller into a window of visibility in front of the pilot. Smoke, Fog, Haze, Rain, Snow or Darkness all become "visible" via the combination. It works amazingly well. The following is a video from our demo unit:
We plan on attending Sun-n-Fun and Oshkosh, as well as a few other smaller events year. We also have a couple of other products in the works, but they're kind of secret at this point. However, I will give you a hint, there are two obvious other products we "should" be working on... a daytime version and a built in and/or certified unit. ;-)
It's been a very cool journey fostering this little research project and I've met some very talented people, in fact, I even hired a few to help me out, so we'll all get to see the fruits of their labor soon. If you're interested in learning more about the VirtualHUD, feel free to ping me or check out our website at http://www.virtualhud.com/.
Oh, and before you ask, yes, we have several aircraft manufactures that would like to include this in their planes and no, I have absolutly no plans to leave Microsoft... I love my job way too much for that. ;-)