Iron Man HUD project (idea gathering) now w/video example

Discussion in 'Marvel Costumes and Props' started by xl97, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    ok.. so for a LONG time.. I have off and on looked at ways to make an Iron Man HUD/eco-system..

    before.. the hardware was lacking.... but it has the support I have needed.

    I just had a pretty major break through on all the communication parts... and am now looking to get some feedback on several things.

    I dont have a good/working IM bucket.. (but I suppose I could check them for size/room.. but Im at work currently)...

    So I am curious as to what size 'screen' can even be put into a helmet? (that still makes the user comfortable?)

    I was testing/developing with a 3.5in HDMI screen.. and I think its just too small to be practical. (all the details are small.. text at any small sizes is hardly legible. Maybe a 5" screen? but would that fit into a helmet?

    Once I get a complete prototype for this done (several months out still).... these should be available as kits to install for those interested.

    The problem is 'room' & placement. While each helmet is unique, I want to get a general idea on room..

    You would need to be able to hide a:

    Raspberry Pi module in there
    Figure out to mount the mini camera module

    So you would get a real-time video feed displayed on the HDMI screen inside your helmet.
    With animated visual overlays (need to find a HUD image form the movie I like.. that isnt too overbearing/intrusive).

    I havbe done some other IronMan electronics kits

    * motorized helmet kit
    * led eye kits
    * repulsor kits

    These are all being re-worked.. along with the addition of an Arc Reactor electronics kit..

    So that ALL of them will now feed into the HUD display..

    ** So if you fired the 'repulsor'.. it would show some sort of visual display/feedback on the HUD screen..

    And here is the second part of the request for feedback..

    What features/things should feedback to the HUD?

    * Arc Reactor:

    - could have a temp sensor.. to feed back/display into the HUD?
    - possible battery life?

    * Repulsors:
    - could display each time fired?
    - possible battery life?
    - if the repulsor kits are rebuilt to have different 'blasts' (the HUD could show what firing state the repulsor is in?)

    I cant really think of any other ideas right now.. I -literally- just had the break through and got a huge (game stopper) part figured out...... so I'm so excited right now... I'm lacking any brain power to come up with more ideas! LOL

    All 'components' will feed into the HUD wirelessly too! so you wont have to have wires running through yoru suit from legs, arms, to head...etc

    So to re-cap:

    * Room? (max HDMI screen you think can fit?)
    * Visual HUD design to model after? (pics please!) :) <- this is in reference to the blue/overlay animation stuff
    * Display data:
    - perhaps a mini outline of the suit in the bottom corner, that lights up each had/arm when the matching repulsor fires?
    - incoming data from the remote peripherals, and what peripherals should be made/re-made for this new project.

    Lets start here!

    Very excited about this!.

    Thanks for all feedback.
    Murdoch likes this.
  2. Murdoch

    Murdoch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  3. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    Hey Murdoch!

    This is NOT a 'run' post...

    just trying to get some community feedback about features... and visuals for now!

    I'm hoping to get some POC (proof of concept videos in the next week or two)..

    right now.. I just worked some some connection and permission issues that had been killing me the last MONTH or so...

    so I"m just at the point of:

    live feed, and animated overlays.. with only '1' live input/overlay from 'temp' repulsor circuit.. (currently just shows 'repulsor fired' on the screen)

    My goal is get some community (or just those that care) feedback to implement some of the feature requests..

    Maybe we should start with the HUD overlay/animations..?? (all the little blue lines/target stuff we see in the RDJ HUD overlay movie clips?)

    The circuit design for the external components that will tie into the HUD will take some time to design (schematics, board design, firmware..etc).... but as long as we talk about them now.. and the HUD can handle any incoming data updates.. then that aspect will go smoother.


    If the HUD should display a TEMP value... then I should code for that incoming value (maybe thats in the ARC reactor circuit? each reuplsor? doesnt make much sens that repulsors wold have a temperature value?)

    Thats why I'm here! :) To start organizing all this hard work into something more tangible! and something people find value in.. not just meaningless data on the HUD screen.. I want it to be real-time feedback from the suit 'ecosystem' as I'm referring to the whole thing. :)

    Example.. a War Machine version could display HUD feedback on the shoulder cannon (current ammo count. reload?..etc..etc)

    Throw out some ideas!! :)

    I'll work them in.
    Murdoch likes this.
  4. Murdoch

    Murdoch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  5. Murdoch

    Murdoch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  6. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    Temp = no problem
    Altimeter = no problem
    Arc Reactor energy levels = no problem (if you mean the battery level that circuit/prop is at)

    Voice and Facial recognition... hmm..

    face... probably not (at least not any time soon.. but I do recall an example that might work in this situation!!?)

    Voice... hmm.. maybe. I know other have used a voice recognition system with Arduinos for their Judge Dredd blasters to change ammo types. and get audio feedback..etc.. might be able to do the same here..

    example: you could say some 'phrase' (and because this is a two communication system).. I could send data to the repulsors to change the audio clip it plays to a different sound (as well as have that displayed on the HUD!!!!)..

    This is DEFINITELY on the phase 2 white list!

    not clear on the first one??

    The second? Similar/same to what we discussed in PM's? Then maybe only for two pre-defined suits.. but as a normal feature for any customers to meet up and it 'just works'... at least not with how I have things planned out currently..
  7. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    ok.. HUD graphic/overlays..

    I suppose it cant really be exactly like the movies..

    As you still need to actually SEE the display/video feed, so you can walk around..etc..etc..

    I guess that limits us to boarder graphics... and smaller things on the edges/corners.. leaving a majority of the main screen (center) open for viewing?


    Or do you think it will be fine to have stuff in the center.. as long as its not too 'blocking' of the outside live feed?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  8. 3hree6ixty

    3hree6ixty New Member

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    Hey there. Those are really great ideas.

    But I got a suggestion. Instead of a screen that is gonna weigh everything down, and the fact that the screen is gonna be right up to your face, have you considered on incorporating something like smart glasses/VR glasses or similar?
  9. 12382

    12382 Active Member

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    Look into drone FPV goggles. They are composed of 2 mini screens that have very low latency. This may solve your screen issue. But the technical parts will definitely need to be taken from the goggles and distributed within the bucket.
    DrCyanide likes this.
  10. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    I have not.. and have never played with either of those unfortunately.

    I have an HDMI out.. so whatever can handle that can be used. :)

    the 3.5 inch screen is negligible in weight... (not even worth mentioning as far as weight is concerned)..

    not sure about the inchers yet.

    I have some graphics I plan on using now... hoping I'll just falling into a 'theme/look'.. and that will help dictate the data that is displayed on the screen.

    I think the arc reactor will have a temp sensor to feed into it...

    not sure what 'info' the repulsors can really display (outside of 'fired' type of animation on a 3d outline of the suit or something?)

    I also just realized that I can actually have some external 'buttons/switches' trigger different screens in the HUD as well!.. (press button, a menu slides out from the side...etc..etc

    I need to break this down into 'sections' and what features each section/pieces will have/do.


    - main function is display and central location for external peripheral communication
    - live cam feed
    - real-time data/information display
    - 'HUD' style overlays & animations
    - possibility to have multi menu system (buttons to change.view them? or some other 'trigger')..... but really seems like I'm reaching for what data to display in there now... so doesnt like the -need- is there...

    Arc Reactor:
    - lights up (possible boot/action stage lighting effects)
    - audio playback (pre-determined clips, like JARVIS AI files, and maybe Uni-Beam blast sound fx?)
    - color changing possible for special fx or alternate suit needs
    - battery (power) level displayed on HUD screen
    - uni-beam blast displayed on HUD screen
    - temp sensor? displayed on HUD screen
    - altimeter (I think was mentioned?) displayed on HUD screen
    - maybe an accelerometer? (could be used to give info to HUD to help control animations based on angles/position...etc (might be a bit of a resource hog though)

    - main features light up in fade-in/blast pattern
    - main feature audio
    - ability to switch the sounds (type of ammo/blaster) you are using
    - battery (power) level displayed on HUD screen
    - every time a blast is triggered, displayed on HUD screen
  11. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    do they have an HDMI port or something? I'm not into drone stuff.. so I'm not familiar with them...
  12. DrCyanide

    DrCyanide Member

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    The problem you're going to run into is how close it would to be to your face. Take your phone and hold it up to one eye and you'll realize you can't read anything. If you back it up until you can read it, then it's 3-4 inches in front of your face, a non-starter for an Iron Man helmet. Because of this simply putting a 3" display in front of your eyes won't work.

    That said, I think I have a solution. It's something I'm planning on building into my cosplay to give me status indicators of all my suit functions. I've had some higher priority stuff keeping me from working on it, so I don't have a prototype yet, but I can explain the idea here.

    First off, let me show you the displays I'm going to use.

    They're OLED, so when a pixel is off it doesn't emit any light. When lit, the pixels glow blue, which is perfect for a HUD.

    My solution to being too close to the face? Not putting them in front of the face. I'm going to position them next to my ears, and use mirrors next to my eye slots to see them. That will give me the extra few inches needed for them to be in focus, without building out the front.
    The14thDr likes this.
  13. 3hree6ixty

    3hree6ixty New Member

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    Like Google glasses or similar. I saw a build on youtube one time. But aside from that, I'm not sure what other way is there as I quite agree that putting a screen up to your face isn't quite feasible
  14. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    I have a ton of LED displays laying around.. while they might work for display some minor data.. that wont work for a live camera/video feed to be displayed...

    So thats a no, unfortunately :(

    Although you do bring up a good point about the screen and distance. (hence the question about room and placement in the opening post.

    ** Question... wouldnt a 'mirror' be too close to your face as well then? These screen are about the same thickness...

    It can use anything that has an HDMI input...

    may there is a happy medium somewhere?

    small, high resolution HDMI displays... thay can fit where/over the eye sockets are? (maybe we integrate the led eye circuit to the backside?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  15. IronDan27

    IronDan27 Member

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    Oh this is going to be a fun thread. I see a lot of good ideas being posted so I wont repeat the ones suggested for the HUD. My only other idea if it hasn't been mentioned is some kind of indicator for moving parts of the suit (back flaps, forearm missiles, shoulder missiles, leg flaps ect.) That way if you have a "calibration" function like in the first iron man movie MK2, you can do a run through to make sure all of your features are working. Like others have stated I think trying to incorporate FPV goggles would be the key to this because then you also eliminate the issue of having to try see out of the eye slits in the helmet. Whereas if you use the camera/goggle set up you can see more and be more like the films. Just my thoughts. I am excited to see what you come up with and will be following this thread!!
  16. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    The 'problem' with that is.. that each of those 'moving parts' would need a module.. (or connected to a module) that can communicate with the main HUD system....

    If there is no 'camera' feed... the his system could have been made LONG ago without any issues, IMHO..
    For me.. the whole allure is the live camera feed, and overlay/animations...etc...

    I'll ask again.. do these 'FPV' googles take an HDMI input? from what I understand.. they take some sort of 'wireless' feed from a remote transmitter.

    Thats not what is needed here.. there is no 'remote' anything.. everything is in the suit.. so if there are 'FPV' goggles that take a direct HDMI input.. then that solution may apply..

    I do thank DrCyanide for the realization of the screen mounting issue. guess this project doesnt really need any further development... LOL

    * (and I was so happy with my final break-through too!) LOL :)
  17. DrCyanide

    DrCyanide Member

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    Exactly right! I was first introduced to it with a lazer tag system that had LEDs behind graphics for Low Ammo, Damage Taken and Target Hit.

    The other method is to use a lens to make the screen look slightly further away. This is what you see in VR headsets and FPV goggles. That seems trickier to do yourself, since you have to be more precise, but it is certainly a possibility.

    Mirrors don't have the problem because they're reflecting an object that's further away. You never stand in front of a full length mirror and think "that other copy of me looks like he's plastered on the wall", you see the reflection as if it's the same distance from the mirror as you are. For the HUD, that means that my effective screen distance is Distance from Eye to Mirror + Distance from Mirror to Screen.

    I'm going to suggest that you don't want a live camera feed, especially if you're modifying that feed to overlay a HUD on it, because of the lag that will be introduced. You'll turn your head and it'll take a few moments for your camera to catch up with where you're now pointing, and then there's the matter of relying on auto focus... it's a recipe for headaches and frustration.

    If you want a HUD that can highlight objects in the environment that's fine, since that can lag slightly but you can still see around/through it. But for your primary source of vision... not recommended.

    I don't think FPV goggles will do for this, because they are meant to use the antenna to get the signal.

    While I'm happy to help explain the short comings, I'm not trying to crush dreams, I'm trying to help people realize them. If you really want to go ahead with a small screen that can connect via HDMI, I think that "virtual theater" glasses are what you're looking for. Something like this.

    Now, I can't recommend any particular brand, and I can't speak to the quality, and I already outlined the possible usability issues, but if you're dead set on trying this out then that would be what I'd look for.
  18. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    I dont see the allure nor the issue of the 'other way'... nor why there isnt 1000 different 'kits' available then if all you wanted was to display plain old 'data' from a remote circuit..

    I havent see any lag... but I also dont have it mounted in a helmet either... also the data lag is non-existent more or less.. but we'll see more once the whole system is set up and there is more than just one data source coming in. (although serial packet parsing doesnt take long at all)

    If an OLED approach is what is preferred..... then (again) whats the hold up? that is a dead simple project.... and requires none of the obstacles I worked through.. (some being that I'm just not that familiar with Linux commands still, but mostly the architecture setup and all the dependencies)

    * could have been developed over a weekend.. tops.

    nice link:
    Zetronix Online store

    not cheap though! LOL... and I'm not quite clear on the 10' distance comment? (is that saying its LIKE seeing 92" screen from 10' feet away?)

    this seems to be what they are using for displays:

    High-Resolution Liquid Crystal Display
    The z920VGHR has 2 built in LCD Display modules at an 854x480 resolution each. The LCD Modules are 100% safe radiation-free LCDs. The two high-resolution LCD modules are high tech and used in military application to reproduce a bright vivid and clear image. The two LCD can also pair up to replicate a realistic 3D image that will knock your socks off.

    * I wonder what physical side they are?

    random thoughts...
    there are HDMI mini projectors out now that are very small.... possibly alternate solution if it can be made to fit and display on 'something'..
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  19. DrCyanide

    DrCyanide Member

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    These are the advantages I can think of with the lens system:
    1. By starting out in the center of your field of view, there's no chance the reflection could be misaligned.
    2. You can make focusing adjustments similar to how you focus binoculars.
    3. It's possibly lighter. You don't need a separate housing on each side of someone's head for two sets of electronics, they can share the same housing in front.
    For a cheaper proof of concept, you could probably use a Google Cardboard viewer with whatever small HDMI display and camera you already have lying around. It'll stick out further than you'd like for a finished project, but you could test lag and see if it will be an issue or not, then find a way to make the form factor smaller.

    It means that the way it's set up, the lenses make the screen seem further away and larger than it is. It tricks your eye into thinking it's 10' away instead of 2" away, and tricks it into thinking it's 92" diagonal instead of 5" diagonal.
  20. xl97

    xl97 Sr Member

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    .. So its a 'lens' thing/trick that makes the 'scale' seem further away.. (interesting).. because physically the object would be the same distance.

    Holding the screen & camera in front of my face.. doesnt show much or any lag at all....

    and I cant see that being any worse (by any means) then trying to see out a crack or slit behind some LED pcb's in the eye sockets.. (as far as having a camera view/display)

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