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BAE Systems developing "wearable cockpit" for fighter pilots


BAE Systems is seeking to form the jet fighter
cockpit of tomorrow a far less complicated place by substitution typical instruments and controls with a video game system. This "wearable cockpit" would use computing and eye-tracking technology to permit pilots to manage their craft just by wanting and gesturing.

The vision is that rather than a fancy arrays of dials, touchscreens, buttons, and knobs, the sixth generation fighter interior are going to be dominated by wide expanses of blank plastic panels with solely some of the foremost very important readouts and controls on the market.

That is, till the pilot puts on their helmet and turns it on. Then the panels, canopy, and even the pilot's person are going to be festooned with readouts and controls designed to quickly offer crucial info and respond within the best manner attainable. it'll even be a cockpit that may be reconfigured as simply because the home screen on a smartphone.

"In terms of future ideas, we have a tendency to area unit watching what we have a tendency to area unit career a 'wearable cockpit'," says BAE Lead human Jean Page "Here, you take away several of the physical components of the cockpit, and replace it with a virtual show, projected through the helmet. basically, it is a software-only cockpit that is upgradeable, labile and reconfigurable.

In such a world, we'd like to trust what controls area unit crucial to the pilot and so create them easier to manage. Eye-tracking provides you the choice of watching one thing to spotlight it and so creating a gesture to 'press' a button, instead of having a series of physical buttons on the craft."

Developed as a part of the Tempest conception fighter, such a cockpit would have variety of benefits. a number of these would be quite obvious – fewer physical readouts and controls mean less material, less weight, and lower prices to make and maintain. additionally, a virtual cockpit may be changed by merely tweaking the package, and will even be altered on the wing to match the mission.

Such a cockpit will even learn, permitting engineers to form it a lot of economical by, for instance, ensuring a red light wasn't assault the left-hand aspect of the pilot during a state of affairs once he is a lot of probably to be wanting to his right. The result would be cues that will be easier to scan and easier to react to.

"The extremely clever bit are going to be that supported wherever the pilot is wanting, we will infer the pilot's goal and use intelligent systems to support task performance and scale back the pilot's employment," says Page. "We need to try to to it during a manner that does not invariably fire permission, as a result of that will get terribly annoying terribly quickly however equally, it's essential that it's invariably evident to the pilot what task the intelligent system is playacting.

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