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


Active Member
Yes. You can think about the lens like the mirror on the far side of car from the driver - "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear". Same physics principles, just using a curved piece of plastic instead of a curved mirror.

I'm not sure how you're not noticing lag. Just using my phone camera there's about 0.25 seconds delay between reality and what's shown on the screen, which is particularly noticeable if I swing my arm through the frame. And my phone's not trying to do any augmented reality, it has a static "HUD" that's constantly overlaid. With a Raspberry Pi receiving the camera signal and adding a moving overlay to the video before re-encoding and outputting it, I'd expect more delay.

You're effectively trying to build a smaller, faster version of what was used in this demo (which, to be fair, is trying to show a delay)

You'll have to say if the Field of View trade off is worth the lag.


Sr Member
Fair enough... however.. I dont think anyone is doing anything that 'timing critical' where a sub-second lag is that important. (not flying a plane here)..

I'll have to do some more 'lag' tests over the weekend.

however... I'll just consider that 'par for the course' if you want an HUD system in your IM cosplay suit..

What I 'do' want to focus on is possibly changing out to 2 x mirrored displays and some sort of 'lens' that gives the 'distance' appearance of the screen.


Sr Member
I'm gonna try the lens' on the Google cardboard product.. see if that gets me anywhere.. or even tells me if this is the right road to pursue more..

all might not be lost... yet! LOL
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Active Member
Hey, sorry I didnt get back to you earlier, been busy with exams and midterms for my University! But FPV goggles dont output to HDMI. They DO output to RCA. There is not a lot of space within a properly scaled Ironman helmet, and I think the space saved from a direct solder connection would out weigh the "modular" capabilities that HDMI would offer.I have taken my pair apart and directly soldering a video feed is quick and easy. (heres a guy taking apart one and pointing out how to find the proper connections)

I only keep pushing these goggles because they keep the screen VERY close to your eye. They dont even need to be FPV goggles. The "personal theatre" goggles are the exact same thing, but depend on a wired connection, and aren't as well documented. The goggles can also be taken apart, and the parts can be redisributed within the helmet, but will require some intermediate soldering skills.


Sr Member

I dont need the goggle to OUPUT anything. (nothing).. the Goggle are the 'receiver' not a the transmitter.

And RCA does nothing.. but add the need for more cable adapters... and provides no benefit if it is actually an OUTPUT.

I need goggles that take an INPUT feed (wired)... not wireless. period. There is no way to wirelessly transmit (or need) some feed to the goggles.

Nor a need to transmit anything to the goggles wirelessly... there is NO DRONE. There is nothing more that than a few inches away at this point.

I think you understand that because you mention and provide a video to make a hardwired connection to these goggles... but I wanted to clarify for everyone else reading. ;)

if I have to direct 'solder' instead of using a 'plugged' end.. thats fine.. but (still) in the end.. the OUTPUT from the RPi is an HDMI OUTPUT.. so the 'screens' used (whatever ones) needs to be able to accept that.. whether its HDMI port, mini, micro.. or a direct solder.. it still needs to be able to accept the HDMI feed.

now if we focus on the "LENS" these things use.. that is a benefit and has some benefit here! :)

Because (to me at least).. that is where the 'solution' lies.

What screens (size? model #?)... and LENS? (diopter rating? model #?)

I tore apart some VR goggles last night.. and busted out the LENS..

I knew right away that the lens was not 'correct'.. because they needed to the phone to be a few inches away..

probably a diopter rating of something like -7 or -8 (not sure)....

but when I double the lens up.. I could have the screen roughly 1-1.5 inches away and be clear and looking like it was a foot or so away.

I'm thinking I need a lens that is maybe around the -12 / -14 diopter rating?

Changes that will need to be made in the end:

* 2 x smaller screens (1 per eye socket) instead of one larger screen
* correct 'aspheric concave fresnel lenses', with the correct diopter rating (at least I think that is the correct lens name/type???) please correct me if I'm wrong!! (so I can actually search for the correct thing then!) LOL

Thank you all (especially DrCyanide) for bringing this to my attention.. real world use (up to this point) had slipped my mind.. as I was so focused on the technical side of getting it all working.

if anyone has some strong google-fu... please post up some links to lens or other places to purchase these things.. :)

Not sure if there is a dominant 'drone group/forum' out there.. that I should join to ask some questions?

I would imaging the screens and lens are WAY cheaper than any full goggle item.. as I dont need any of the circuit/pcb stuff... just the lens really.. and the screens.. (but mostly those can be bought anywhere...

I really like the Eachine EV100 Fatshark lens SIZE.. they are nice and small.. and already shaped. My test ones here.. are HUGE circles.. :(
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Sr Member
Throwing together some graphics for a 'theme' of the HUD screen.

I suppose for now.. it will just be showing the left & right repulsor states (ready/fired).. with a a little red highlight on the 3D suit/diagram in the upper corner to match what repulsor was fired..

I think the tiles in the upper right will just show the battery levels of the connected components perhaps?

Gonna work on animating things now.... and setting up an external component to 'trigger' these screen changes as a test..

Random things to focus on as well:

* screen/camera seems dark (not sure if that can be fixed?)
* still looking into VR or theater goggle lens and possibly two individual smaller screens.

opps.. image:

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Sr Member

do you own those goggles?

can you give a measurement/distance for: "they keep the screen VERY close to your eye" on what the really means?

Also the: "The "personal theatre" goggles are the exact same thing, but depend on a wired connection, and aren't as well documented."

Are these from the same vendor? or just a generic search term you are providing?

I dont mind the 'not well documented' aspect.. as long as it has an *HDMI in port.. :)

I'm really curious as what 'lens' (looks like a full 'sheet') was used for the 3.5" screens versions of these FPV goggles?


I am already using a 3.5" to develop with.
* fits inside the faceplate(s) I checked against.. (I think a 5: would work too.. but might be getting cramped at that point.)
* 3.5" screen if pretty 'thin' (especially if you remove the GPIO headers).. that should help give maximum space between itself and any lenses

not sure if you are part of any drone/FPV forum/groups... but if you could ask to see if anyone has any broken goggles they want to take the lens out of to sell.. I might be interested.
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Sr Member
On the hunt for these type of screen:


As seen here:
Zetronix Online store
* left side of page, scroll down... they look to be not much bigger than a quarter!

But where can I find these?


Sr Member
baby steps I guess:


* continuing on while I search out those specific small screens (854x480 and I -think- 1.27in size?, maybe less), and the correct diopter rated lenses that arent too thick as well

test result show that more font testing is required (most likely with single pixel fonts, going forward)
each section/area could benefit from having some sort of semi-trans background to make the text pop more

Feedback/thoughts so far?
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Sr Member
Outlining steps (more for myself) LOL

* more font and font size tests
* filled/background behind the HUD theme/elements for better visibility
* play with camera setting to see if 'brightness' can be improved
* set resolution to true 480x320 (for now).. and test full screen mode on the 3.5" TFT HDMI screen (hoping to move to 2 x individual 854x480 resolution screens in the end)
* mock up 2 x 'repulsor' circuits to test the on-screen real-time alerts (lag & effectiveness)

* give some more thought to making this more of an open API.. so that any other devices can send these 'commands/actions' to the HUD and it will trigger/display on the HUD screen.. (ie: meaning you would have to use MY repulsors, arc reactor props.... you could anything, or create your own.. just need to be able to send these 'commands' out from your alternate device..... aka: direct serial or NRF modules..etc),...

^ while I think an OPEN API for other people/devices to take advantage of is an great idea...... not sure if that many people care or -would- take advantage of it?.. LOL


* Thoughts on the IM suit 3D outline? (too much? not needed? I was going to possibly light up the hand/chest depending on what action was done by the user........lame?)

* In my image posted above.. you will notice the 'center' circular design thingy.. I was going to animate that so that each 'ring' rotates in its own direction and speed.....It will be mostly see through. Do you think that -adds- to the overlay design/feel? Or will it be too distracting for a user once 'in use' (so to speak) ??


Well-Known Member
I'm really sorry to be the one to break this to you dude, but everything suggested in this thread so far wouldn't work. There is hardly any room left in an Iron Man helmet if it is the correct size. To add all of the stuff you want to add would make you look like a bobble head, the helmet would have to be HUGE!

Before continuing this project I advise you to do some cheap preliminary testing. Use a cell phone VR headset, pop your phone in and use a pass through app which uses the phones camera. My phone is a note 8, with a huge screen and very high pixel density and it makes me sick as hell to walk round with it on while in a pass through app. Motion sickness is real!

In my setup which is basically 2k resolution, details are terrible even at this resolution. You are intending on using screens with a resolution of a quarter of this, and much smaller. You won't be able to make anything out and the pixels will be huge. Not only that but the phone has to be around 3-4 inches from the eye, which is simply impossible in an iron man helmet, you have 1 inch maximum.

If you check out the Hacksmiths youtube channel, you can see he visited a university. Their budget is basically unlimited and they have PHD level team working on it.... they failed because the space doesn't exist. The final result they ended up with was a disgusting looking Iron Man helmet, with a hololens crammed in.

You should take the above advice and try using a google glass style setup... I'm confident that even that wont work because it's too close to your eye, but at least you won't get the potato image quality of a video feed.

This is not what you want to hear, but you will very quickly realise that in order to achieve what you want, you will need to make MASSIVE sacrifices. Be that the size of the helmet... the extreme expenditure, or both (most likely both).

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Sr Member
There is no reason to bring a PHONE into this project by any means.. testing or not? :)

(not sure I see the validity in your comment on that?.... why? what point is it trying to prove?)

* maybe I'm not following?

Regardless of resolution/size.. if its within 1 in of your face.. it wont work..

Hence the new approach of many of the SLIM LINE FPV/Theater goggles out there..

high resolution, small physical size, and a frensal lens in front (with the correct diopter rating).. with generic ones (like from Google Cardboard..etc)..

I can get my 3.5" screen roughly 1-1.5 inches from my face.. with better lens it should able to be a bit closer?)..

However.. being that my current test display is literally 3.5 inches wide... the lens only provides clarity on a portion of the screen.

Hence the move to 2 smaller/individual screens (1 for each eye)

Thanks for the link.. never saw that before.

They dont seem to go into much detail on things? (maybe there is more documentation elsewhere?)

Also seems like they are trying to jam FULL BLOWN FPV goggles inside the helmet! YIKES! talk about space killer.
* guess they didnt have time to take the holo lens apart?
* mentions it was $3000.. and didnt want to break it?
* and they only had 10 days to do this project?

Lots of facts there.. that I'm sure had direct influence on the approach and final product.

Video is also 2 years old? Many of the goggles I have seen now-a-days- are much more slim lined.

The ones I have been looking at seem to have (roughly) about 1in between the screens and lens..

Still trying to source that damn elusive screens!! LOL

* and custom diopter rated rectangle lens like used in the Eachine/FatShark goggles!!!!
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Another resource to look into is Sandbagger's Steel Iron Man build here on the RPF. He uses a camera set up in the helmet (camera is between the eyes), and states it works just fine--doesn't go into too much detail but it proves it can be done. And as stated above when the Hacksmith visited the college they did not reverse engineer that Hololens and redistribute any components throughout the helmet--they just took a stock setup and build around it which made it look like a predator helmet with a faceplate. Obviously you guys are more skilled in this area than myself but I do believe if you scaled the helmet up just a bit and re-distributed the components throughout the helmet it would work. XRobots crammed a small screen and all the hinge mechanisms into his helmet--wasn't nearly as fancy but it did display which program he was running. Just need to think outside the box some. :) anyway that is my two cents.


Sr Member

Everyone's 'cents' are welcome! LOL

To be clear, I 'do' plan on breaking up either an off the shelf theater/FPV goggles.. or (preferred direction) source the actual parts I have been on the hunt for.

How I see it (in my minds eye)...

I will have 2 screen (854px x 480px resolution).. that are not much bigger than a quarter! they will (should?) fit into/around the eye sockets..

I 'believe' they are pretty flush with the faceplate (not sticking more than .5 inch I believe)..

The only part left after that would be the correct diopter rated frensal lens. that will take the screen magnify but also make it seem like you are viewing it from several feet away.

I know every ones buckets are different... but lets got for a general community answer here?

How much space do you think you have between your NOSE and the faceplate when the helmet is closed? 1 inch? less? slightly more?

Because your eyes do not stick out as far as your nose and are 'recessed' a bit.. it gives a LITTLE more space for the screens/lens/holder..

Anyone care to chime in on the questions?

* Like the one about if a rotating center circular/rotating animation would be too distracting? :)


I like your ideas on the layout--the circular bit wouldn't be too distracting, maybe make it optional in case it drives a few people nuts lol. The full suit in your test video is awesome and I think it would be cool if you had areas light up depending on the motion. I believe you were looking for input there, I if I had a system in my helmet I would want a function like that just for badassery sake :p.


Sr Member
* minor updates to HUD app..

- Left/Right repulsor visuals have been implemented (the feedback blocks at bottom)
- Added visual 'queue' to the IM suit in upper right corner (fade in/out blip on the hand area when repulsor is fired)
- Add the ability to display a left & right 'auxilary' panels (these are current blank as I'm not sure what info to even put there)

** While there is no room in the helmet for this.. I was playing around with the ability to get real-time texts inside your helmet
- doable, but no room to house in the helmet (perhaps as hidden elsewhere in the suit?.. although thats a feature WAY down the road. it is possible I believe.. however you will need a legit, activated SIM card from you (a) cell phone)


What you do think about have a blank screen (just the raw video feed displayed on screen).. and you can 'choose' (through some buttons) which screens/animation/real-time feedback you want displayed?


I think that would be a good idea, that way you can choose when you want to display data and when you just want the video feed. It would be similar to the hud in the first avengers at the end of the battle--first it's blue and not as crowded and when he looks up and sees the aliens it switches to red and has all the weapons' statuses and other data.


New Member
Hey there xl97!

Just flicked through your idea for the built in HUD for your Iron Man helmet.

Have you explored the idea of an AR Display such as the ones used in "Smart glasses" like 'Google Glass'.

You can purchase these displays which are powered by mini HDMI and can take the original shell apart to make them fit.

These are available on Amazon :

This may be outside your budget but if you're looking to make something that will give you a great experience and not take up *TOO* much space. If you've already got LED lights for the eye pieces and servo powered faceplates then you could power the required components with the same LiPo batteries i am assuming you are using.

All you would need is a small board, something like a Raspberry Pi Zero and a relatively cheap and discreet camera module to power your display and have a script that controls it via a button or sensor to turn on / off the camera module.

Hope this gives you some inspiration and your project is going well!


Sr Member
Hey OMFGDean

I have been mostly focused on FVP (drone) type goggles.. (for the video feed aspect)

But I'm def. NOT opposed to something google glass (especially if it takes an (mini) HDMI input!)

Really.. this is the LAST hurdle (not small I understand).. but its also going to be hard to have a single solution as everyone helmets are different. (cast, pep, printed, fiberglass..etc) so whatever I come up with might not fit all.. so this is something to research. :)

Its already all working.. (demo vid in above post as proof of working concept)

runs off a RPi 3B (not sure if a zero would have enough power to run everything, like the video and overlays..etc)
ArduCam (havent tested any others).. but works fine.
Adobe Flash for visuals and menus..etc..etc.

All working with real time/external sensors/data as well.. (think Arc reactor displaying is battery levels/uni-beam power left..etc.. or repulsors.. when they fired, how much power left in each..etc)

I just got in a bunch of nRF24L01 modules, so I can do some wireless tests (shouldnt matter though.. as its really just all serial data no matter if wired or from RF modules)..

but I want to set up a demo where I have (repulsor) ciruits and the code HUD system, and show the external circuits feeding into the HUD display..

I have some tweaking to do as well (camera settings, etc..etc) to improve things.. but its all working.

I need to just think of a better 'style' or 'theme' to it all...

this is my current 'look'.. but I'm just an 'average' designer... I'm sure others are WAY more talented than I am at this.

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

I want it to be functional.. and have purpose.. but there really isnt a lot you can display on the screen.. (unless its just junk/garbage to make the effect)

Thanks for the interest! WHen I see posts like this.. it gets me motivated to keep working on things!