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A scientist at the Army Research Laboratory has recently invented a way to display messages on rotating aircraft blades. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
The ARL system is capable of projecting images or messages via a laser on the underside of rotating helicopter blades. These messages or icons can also represent geospatial references relative to the helicopter, or some ground waypoint. A sensor determines the position of helicopter blades during rotation, such that light may be projected upon only the moving blade at precisely timed intervals, so as to form perceivable information. A CPU correctly times the laser projections for each incremental sequence of points projected onto the underside of the helicopter and each blade portion or section may be updated at the rate of the spinning blade.
By only transmitting laser pulses at the correct time and coordinate (or bit map) position onto the blades, the system creates a pulsating composite image that is persistent with time through integration by the naked eye and is visible when sampled at some regular interval by electro-optic sensors or imagers. Further, the system may be operated to only emit laser light upon the blade surfaces, and not into the open air.
- System may be utilized for displaying graphics, animation, and/or messages on rotating propellers of fixed wing aircraft
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent 8,157,383 from the Army
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