Heads-Up Display Turns Car Into Fighter Jet

While most of us will never set foot in a fighter jet, some of us can still try to get as close as possible. One of the most eye-catching features of a fighter jet (at least from the pilot’s point-of-view) is the heads-up display, so that’s exactly what [Frank] decided to build into his car to give it that touch of fighter jet style.

Heads-up displays use the small reflectivity of a transparent surface to work. In this case, [Frank] uses an LED strip placed on the dashboard to shine up into the windshield. A small amount of light is reflected back to the driver which is able to communicate vehicle statues without obscuring view of the road. [Frank]’s system is able to display information reported over the CAN bus, including voltage, engine RPM, and speed.

This display seems to account for all the issues we could think up. It automatically cycles through modes depending on driving style (revving the engine at a stoplight switches it to engine RPM mode, for example), the LEDs automatically dim at night to avoid blinding the driver, and it interfaces with the CAN bus which means the ability to display any other information in the future should be relatively straightforward. [Frank] does note some rough edges, though, namely with the power supply and the fact that there’s a large amount of data on the CAN bus that the Teensy microcontroller has a hard time sorting out.

That being said, the build is well polished and definitely adds a fighter jet quality to the car. And if [Frank] ever wants even more aviation cred for his ground transportation, he should be able to make use of a 747 controller for something on the dashboard, too.

ASTROGUN is like Asteroids on Steroids


As the Jerusalem mini Makerfaire approached, [Avishay] had to come up with something to build. His final project is something he calls ASTROGUN. The ASTROGUN is a sort of augmented reality game that has the player attempting to blast quickly approaching asteroids before being hit.

It’s definitely reminiscent of the arcade classic, Asteroids. The primary difference is that the player has no space ship and does not move through space. Instead, the player has a first person view and can rotate 360 degrees and look up and down. The radar screen in the corner will give you a rough idea of where the asteroids are coming from. Then it’s up to you to actually locate them and blast them into oblivion before they destroy you.

The game is built around a Raspberry Pi computer. This acts as the brains of the operation. The Pi interfaces with an MPU-9150 inertial measurement unit (IMU). You commonly see IMU’s used in drones to help them keep their orientation. In this case, [Avishay] is using it to track the motion and orientation of the blaster. He claims nine degrees of freedom with this setup.

The Pi generates the graphics and sends the output to a small, high-brightness LCD screen. The screen is mounted perpendicular to the player’s view so the screen is facing “up”. There is a small piece of beam splitting glass mounted above the display at approximately a 45 degree angle. This is a special kind of glass that is partially reflective and partially translucent. The result is that the player sees the real-world background coming through the glass, with the digital graphics overlaid on top of that. It’s similar to some heads-up display technologies.

All of the electronics fit either inside or mounted around a toy gun. The display system was attached with a custom-made fiberglass mount. The code appears to be available via Github. Be sure to watch the video of the system in action below. Continue reading “ASTROGUN is like Asteroids on Steroids”

Fail of the Week: CAN-Bus Attached HUD for Ford Mustang

This edition of Fail of the Week is nothing short of remarkable, and your help could really get the failed project back on track. [Snipor Bob] wanted to replace all of the dashboard readouts on his Mustang and got the idea of making the hacked hardware into a Heads-Up Display. What you see above is simply the early hardware proof of concept for tapping into the vehicle’s data system. But there’s also an interesting test rig for getting the windshield glass working as a reflector for the readout.

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Heads up controls for your iPod

[Cmonaco3’s] girlfriend wanted a better way to control her iPod when driving. She didn’t want to take her eyes of the road and asked him if he could help. He ended up building a heads up display which reads out track information and offers a few simple buttons for control.

The display includes controls for track forward, track back, and play/pause. Those buttons, along with the LCD screen, mount on the windshield using a suction cup. This way the driver doesn’t have to completely remove focus from the road to control the iPod which is sitting in the passenger’s seat.

To accomplish this [Cmonaco] used a dock connector breakout board for communication between an Arduino and the iPod. The Arduino pulls song information to be displayed on the graphic LCD screen, and sends commands to the iPod when it detects a button push. See a quick demo of the setup after the break.

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Heads-up display mounts on brim of your cap

[Matt Kwan] says that coming up with a personal heads-up display wasn’t that hard. Well that’s because he made design choices that make all the difference.

The goal here was to add some augmented reality to his field of vision. He went with a baseball cap because it’s a pretty easy way to strap something to your head. You can’t see it from this angle, but the setup requires you to cut a rather large hole in brim. The image from a smartphone (HTC Desire Z in this case) which is situated with the screen pointing toward [Matt’s] forehead. The screen reflects off of a small mirror, guiding the image down through a Fresnel lens mounted in the hole of the brim. The image is reflected a second time by the plastic in front of his eyes which is coated with a slightly mirrored material. Since the image is reflected twice it appears right-side up, and the use of the Fresnel lens places the image out about 20 cm in front of his view. He tried to get some images of the effect, but we think you’ve got to see it in person before passing judgement.

This does away with the need to track head movement (there’s a few hacks for that out there though). Augmented reality software is used to turn the view from the smartphone camera into overlay data for the display.

[Thanks Tom]

Augmented reality UAV controller

Controlling a long-range unmanned aerial vehicle is much easier if you have an augmented reality system like [Fabien Blanc-Paques] built. On board the aircraft you’ll find a sensor suite and camera, both transmitting data back to the operator. As the title of this post indicates, the display the operator sees is augmented with this data, including altitude, speed, and a variety of super-handy information. For instance, if you get disoriented during a flight there’s an arrow that points back to home. There’s also critical information like how many milliamp-hours have been used so that you can avoid running out of juice, and GPS data that can be used to locate a downed aircraft. Check out some flight video after the break.

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Monocular Head Mounted Display


[Xenonjon] wanted to make a Heads Up Display that he could use while maintaining the ability to see. The most logical choice was a monocular set up.  He had an old Eye-Trek laying around and decided to sacrifice it to make his Heads Up Display. Combining a screen from his TV glasses and a wireless security camera setup, he was able to achieve an untethered monocular HUD. This has a multitude of uses, from displaying vital information, to home made night vision, or just watching TV while you work.

There’s plenty of good pictures and information there. The final result is a pair of safety glasses with the display and a pack that you have to put on your belt that holds batteries and the wireless receiver.  It seems as though it isn’t horribly cumbersome, but we’d have to try it for a while to say if it would be ergonomically sound.