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Scientists have developed a method of projecting 3D holographic images into the field of view of an observer in an “augmented reality” breakthrough that could one day allow the likes of surgeons and firefighters to benefit from seeing the world through technology similar to that used by comic-book superhero Iron Man.
The researchers said it would be possible to use the holographic projections to provide extra information on objects in a person’s visual field in real time in order to supplement their normal sense of vision using augmented-reality headsets – just like Iron Man’s suit.
Details of the research will be released at this week’s summer science exhibition at the Royal Society, which highlights the best of British scientific research and technical innovation – from the latest studies into the origins of life to robots with human-like hearing.
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Army Capt. Brian Dowling was leading his Special Forces team through a steep mountain pass in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents ambushed his patrol, leaving two of his soldiers pinned down with life-threatening wounds. After a furious firefight, the two men were rescued, but that episode in 2006 would change Dowling's life. Now employed by a small defense company, he is part of a crash effort by U.S. Special Operations Command to produce a radically new protective suit for elite soldiers to wear into battle — one with bionic limbs, head-to-toe armor, a built-in power supply and live data feeds projected on a see-through display inside the helmet. They call it — what else? — the "Iron Man suit." "We're taking the Iron Man concept and bringing it closer to reality," said Dowling, referring to the Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a rocket-powered exoskeleton, turning himself into a superhero. The Special Operations Command began soliciting ideas for the suit this year from industry, academia and government labs, and has held two conferences where potential bidders, including Dowling's company, Revision Military, demonstrated their products. Military officials say they are trying to produce a working prototype within the next 12 months. But no contracts have been signed, and the Pentagon has not ventured to make a cost estimate...