When Sgt. David Mascarenas went looking for evidence in a murder case in the methane-filled La Brea tar pits in 2013, the LAPD dive team’s leader had the department’s best technology guiding him:
Luckily for Sgt. Mascarenas’ successor — and commercial and professional divers everywhere — the U.S. Navy is developing a new line of helmets that will soon render the pole obsolete.
Equipped with a translucent head-up display that Navy engineers have christened DAVD (Divers Augmented Vision Display), the diving helmet’s hi-res screen can show its wearer bits of data such as text messages, diagrams and photos and videos, as well as their sonar-detected position in real-time.
In-water testing of the futuristic helmet is set to begin in October, and Underwater Systems Development engineer Dennis Gallagher and his team are hoping to develop enhanced sensors that will let divers to “see” via their screens when visibility is near zero in due time.
"By building this HUD directly inside the dive helmet instead of attaching a display on the outside, it can provide a capability similar to something from an Iron Man movie," Gallagher says. "You have everything you visually need right there within the helmet."
Well, not Pepper/Gwyneth Paltrow, but we digress.
(To hear what saved Sgt. Mascarenas’ life in the pits, check out Criminal. Hint: it wasn’t the pole.)