Heads-up displays – Functional AR applications

A heads-up display (HUD) are readings and relevant information that can be seen without lowering the eyes, and it usually projected onto a windshield, visor, helmet or glasses.

In the industry currently, the biggest impact within the space of heads-up display technologies can be seen in automotive HUDs, helmet integrations for military and sports purposes, as well as personal displays using hololens technology. These all have unique ways to increase the awareness we have for our environment.

Automotive HUDs

In traditional vehicles, speedometers display all the vital information you need when it comes to your driving, your car, and it's maintenance. To keep an eye on your speed, you generally have to lower your gaze from the road to read the in-cabin speedometer.

Heads-up display technology can create a more user-friendly experience. A HUD will display all this information on the windshield itself, meaning that you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to read it. Automotive HUDs can also correct perception errors which is one of the more significant causes of accidents.

Higher end models from companies like BMW and Lexus now have HUD technology coming out for their latest models, but this technology is spreading into all makes and manufacturing processes. Aftermarket HUDs are available to install in your vehicle, and products like the Way-Ray HUD offer a larger field of view and a more seamless display integrated into the world around you.

Helmet integration

Heads-up displays are also showing their proficiency when it comes to helmets, specifically military helmets. If you have ever seen an Iron Man movie, Tony Stark's heads-up display in his helmet functions very much like the HUD 3.0 technology introduced for soldiers. In war, surveying the landscape and having Intel and information at your fingertips is imperative to survival and successful missions. March 2018 saw the US Army start to use this HUD 3.0 technology to test its functionality and usefulness. The HUD 3.0 will attempt to help soldiers aim and navigate better and can even super-impose or project enemies onto the battlefield for training purposes.

Personal displays

Personal heads-up displays have received the most attention commercially since Google Glass was made available to the public in early 2015. Google glass is classified as "smart glasses" and offers a heads-up display on one of the lenses. A touchpad on the side allows you to swipe through applications, like your social media pages and a functional camera. Glasses and googles have yet to take off commercially mainly due to pricing, but their uses are broad. The Brother AiRScouter is aimed towards the manufacturing market and overlays instructions for factory workers in an attempt to expedite the construction of products.

Recon Mod’s Live Alpine Snowboarding goggles bring informational tracking to sports like snowboarding and skiing and displays elevation, speed, jump analytics, buddy tracking and even the music you are currently listening to with its smartphone integration.


As you can see heads up, displays are becoming increasingly crucial to making everyday life more manageable, safe, intuitive and focused. As costs start to decline on this rapid evolution within the realm of augmented reality, more commercial and public interest will begin to permeate the heads-up display market.

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