Modeling perceptual color confusion of helmet-mounted display symbology as a function of see-through contrast

TitleModeling perceptual color confusion of helmet-mounted display symbology as a function of see-through contrast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHarding, T., J. Hovis, C. Rash, M. Smolek, and M. Lattimore
JournalOptical Engineering
KeywordsAviators, Calculation error, color, Color deficiencies, color deficiency, color discrimination, color vision, Contrast threshold, daylight, Daylighting, Head up displays, helmet mounted display, Helmet mounted displays, helmet-mounted displays, luminance, Luminance contrast, Observer ratings, Safety devices, symbology

In military aviation helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) or head-up displays, light from the ambient scene is added to the symbology to create a complex mixture of colors, textures, and luminances. In the case of color mixing, the color of the transparent symbology symbols shifts toward the colors of the ambient background that the symbology overlays. The magnitude of the shift depends on the contrast of the symbology against the background. Against a darkened background, there is negligible shifting of symbology color. However, during daylight conditions, symbology colors shift toward the background hue. Using CIELAB distances between symbology colors as a measure of color discrimination, confusion contrast thresholds are calculated for each of seven symbology colors mixed with fourteen different background colors over a wide range of luminance contrasts. Confusion contrast thresholds are calculated for color normal and color vision deficient (CVD) observers. For CVD observers, colors are filtered using the RGB coefficients developed by Machado. Using the color discrimination data presented here as well as previous assessments of HMD luminance requirements based on observer ratings of the quality of symbology, luminance guidelines for see-through displays are presented, which correct for a calculation error made previously. © The Authors.