Immersive Display Solutions, Inc. (IDSI) (Kennesaw, GA) showed several simulation and training solutions at I/ITSEC 2014 and also announced an agreement to take a controlling interest in Bedford, UK-based simulation and visualization specialists, Simulation Displays Ltd.
In announcing the acquisition, George Forbes, president and CEO of IDSI, said that the move was strategic and a logical expansion. The two companies have been working together for a few years and Forbes was on the board of Simulation Displays. “This really becomes IDSI Europe”, Forbes told us at I/ITSEC. “The combination of IDSI’s long track record in design and installation of deployable and high value simulator display solutions, together with Simulation Displays’ track record in high specification fixed and motion base simulator display solutions, creates an immediate win for the combined operations on both sides of the Atlantic”.
Greg Jeffreys, Simulation Displays’ founding CEO, will now focus on his ProAV business, Paradigm.
Both IDSI and Simulation Displays share the same mission, using similar commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components from best of breed providers.
One of those best in breed providers they both work with is Scalable Display Technologies – the company that provides camera-based alignment, warp and blend solutions. At I/ITSEC, the two also announced the completion of a number of major IDSI customer visual systems integrated with Scalable Display Manager software. These included Air National Guard 502 Training Development Group, AdventureTech (Brazil), Aegis Technologies – Ft. Sill Visual Upgrade, Driving Force (Nascar and F1 Simulators), Fidelity Technology Corp, Nova Technologies CFFT3 Close Air Support Module, L3/AFRL and Raytheon Technical Services.
In the booth at the event, we saw a personal desktop workstation that the company has shown in various forms for perhaps three years. What is different this year is that the product has now reached production level. Previous versions have featured multiple blended projectors but the current one uses a single projector from Digital Projection that illuminates a mirror that sits above the operators’ head. This image is then presented to the curved screen that is in front of the operator.
Apparently, getting the characteristics of the mirror just right to eliminate any distortions and imperfections was quite a task, but is now solved. The system is sold with the 2048 x 1536 (QXGA) resolution projector, 160-degree FOV mirror, screen, desk and PC for around $20K. Applications include JTAC training, fast jet, UAV or helicopter flying and more. Flight controls are extra.
The company also showed a screen called “the Curve”. This is a 220-degree cylindrical screen set up to demonstrate JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) simulation. JTACs are used to call in aerial support and have a very rigid engagement protocol to avoid killing innocents and friendlies (see comprehensive description of JTAC training based on my Rockwell Collins visit in November 2013 http://tinyurl.com/ozahtv5). The JTAC is responsible for co-ordinating the targeting of the fixed or mobile asset for destruction, providing the targeting information to the proper airborne platform and co-ordinating all airborne assets in the area. This latter control function is critical so helicopters don’t come into the range of fire of known enemy assets, so the friendly aircraft don’t crash into each other, get into the line of fire of artillery and more.
Historically, JTACs have trained using dome simulators so they can see the field of battle as well as the air space. But according to IDSI, the JTAC is not supposed to be directly over his position, so a curved display can be used instead of a domed display.
This was verified later in an interaction with a JTAC, who noted there are three types of calls that JTACs do and only 5% would need the dome.
Going to the curved 220 x 45-degree screen saves a lot of money as fewer projectors (four instead or 10 or more for a dome) can be used and it is much easier to set up. IDSI also worked with system integrator Quantadyne to run some demos of JTAC training. This included using Sony’s short throw 4K projector to serve as a command screen for the operation.