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iHUD

January 25th, 2010
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iHUD is an application (app) that turns the iPhone 3G and 3G-S and – with limited features the iPod touch 2nd generation *) – into an aerospace-inspired mobile Glass Cockpit. iHUD derives its name from Head-Up Display, which depicts motion and flight-related pertinent guidance information and data for optimal situational awareness.

A Glass Cockpit usually features an AHRS and an EFIS for visualization of position, attitude, attitude changes, track and acceleration of the vehicle in space and time. AHRS means Attitude and Heading Reference System. AHRS delivers primary spatial motion information to the pilot. EFIS means Electronic Flight Information System, which displays the obtained information in the Glass Cockpit, also known as a Multi Function Display (MFD).

In aerospace, EFIS/AHRS is a cost-effective replacement for traditional vacuum-powered mechanical gyros (steam gauges! Just kidding). Without mechanical gyros, no maintenance is required, and the resulting system is much lighter and way more powerful and very reliable. In addition to the primary flight information, power plant sensor data, and maps for guidance (moving map) may also be displayed. There are many Glass Cockpit variants – from very simple (starting price of ± $2000.-) to amazingly complex (> $100,000.-) – but they have in common all the basic information of attitude, attitude changes, heading, speed, vertical speed, and acceleration. Imagine all this information is simulated by iHUD, made possible by the iPhone’s on-board accelerometer and GPS sensors.

iHUD depicts an extraordinary graphic interface with a simulated horizon and a vehicle reference symbol, dynamic speed, altitude, and vertical velocity ribbons and digital display window, rotating compass card with user selectable heading bug, slip/skid ball, and an accelerometer (G-meter). iHUD is a fun experience for everybody who likes to see motion and forces acting on the vehicle they are riding on. Try it on a giant roller coaster (just don’t let go of the iPhone!).

iHUD offers a fantastic way to teach, see, and learn EFIS and partially AHRS functionality in the classroom on-the-fly. Important note: A limitation of this basic version of iHUD is that the horizon depends on the on-board accelerometers only. This means that the horizon does not display the earth horizon as a reference of a vehicle in an accelerated attitude. It will display the acceleration of the vehicle only. Therefore, never ever use this version of iHUD for in-flight operations to visualize attitude other than pitch and roll. We are currently studying the possibility to mathematically model an algorithm to address this situation.

The iPod touch has no on-board GPS receiver, therefore only accelerometer based information (attitude with pitch and roll, and G-load) is operative.

iHUD - Aero Visions International, Inc.

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