The U.S. Navy is revamping its battle-space visualization technology and contracted us to design and build a prototype human machine interface for next generation 3D displays.
Must be collaborative
Require no headwear such as VR or AR goggles
Capable of various interaction inputs (touch screen, game controller, 3D mouse, etc.)
Hardware and Software Development
Human factors research
Communication & presentation
Principal investigator that lead a team of 3 engineers in research, design, and development of an in-the-round collaborative 3-person workstation.
My team and I designed and built a functional prototype in 12 months continually updating the test application for testing and evaluation at the Naval Postgraduate School.
We reviewed Navy research on tactical displays to reduce warfighter stress, collaborated with the MOVES group for expert interviews on visualization and cognitive challenges, and examined advanced interfaces from companies like SpaceX and Apple. These insights shaped our collaborative and immersive UI/UX design.
Initial tests reveal a 2-3x increase in engagement with the PRISM workstation for collaborative tasks.
Testing will wrap up by Q2 2024.
Due to positive feedback, negotiations are underway for two more R&D projects to advance PRISM.
We developed designs for collaborative battle space workstations simulating large-scale 3D displays, selecting two concepts to present to the Navy based on project requirements.
Diagrams and a CAD model led to two PRISM prototypes: one stayed in Austin, TX, and the other was shipped to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
Outdated, complex, and non-intuitive interfaces.
No 3D visualization for data.
Collaboration hindered by the setup of displays/workstations.
Difficulty in prioritizing threats in simple scenarios.
Develop a 3D geospatial environment to integrate all sensor data.
Display critical asset details (type, location, status, capability) within the scene.
Apply doctrinal rules to rank threats and suggest tactics, techniques, and procedures systematically.
We crafted user requirements and interface guidelines for BattleView's development, leading six bi-monthly iterative cycles. These guided our creation of wireframes, graphics, 3D models, and visualizations, culminating in updates to the latest build after each cycle.
We focused design and development on an immersive full screen view for search and scan…
as well as a more task oriented view complete with threat and friendly data drawers, a tactical timeline, and critical alerts.
We opted for a touch screen interface early in the development for several key reasons:
Familiarity: Touch interfaces are widely used and preferred for their intuitive nature.
Flexibility: The UI can be tailored to suit various tasks and functions.
Adaptability: Updates can easily introduce new roles, techniques, or procedures.
Trend Alignment: There's a growing trend of touch interface integration within industry HMI standards.
The updated UI showcases a widescreen layout with a central 3D view, surrounded by threat and doctrine cards in "red" and "blue" panels for asset information. A tactical timeline and critical alerts occupy the top and bottom of the screen, respectively.
The touch interface includes a large trackpad for 3D navigation and panel control, a top down mini-map, and options for overlay management, camera adjustments, and asset filtering.
Like all worthy tasks, leading this project was challenging and rewarding. There was so much wisdom gained and I look forward to seeing what the PRISM does next.
Most of all though, I look forward to seeing how the concept of collaborating in-the-round continues to grow and evolve along with technology.
Design by Aaron Harlan 2024