Technological Enhancement for Divers’ Underwater Tasks

Close up of the Mk 21 Dive Helmet worn by US Navy (USN) Hull Maintenance Technician Petty Officer First Class (HT1) Diver (DV) John M. O'Donnell, as he prepares for a dive, during the recover of the sunken Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru.

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The US Navy has teamed with NASA to test next-generation helmet upgrades. The Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has funded the development and the research of an upgrade for the Diver Augmented Vision Display (DAVD) system by Coda Octopus Group.

DAVD is an “eyeglasses-designed high-resolution heads-up display monitor” over each eye (similar to Virtual Reality glasses) and is separate from the dive helmet.

It is an evolving technology that allows divers to improve underwater task efficiency for potential use in NASA’s planned return to the Moon.

ONR provided $1 million in FY2020 for the DAVD Generation 2 development and is pressing forward with the DAVD Generation 3 development for FY2021.  

The next-generation DAVD brings in enhanced heading accuracy, the ability to receive sonar input from other sources outside of the helmet, and improvements to the navigation system that includes the ability to set way points and share bearing, range, and enhanced camera imagery directly with the HUD.

In the future, DAVD could also help NASA’s astronauts navigate the dark side of the Moon and conduct crater and interior tunnel Moon inspections, mineral mining, and construction operations in total darkness using the HUD to feed instructions, imagery, technical manuals, video, communications, safety protocols, and navigation data, respectively.  

According to the Coda Octopus Group, Inc.’s website, DAVD GEN 2’s helmet has a transparent HUD offering full real-time Mixed-Reality 3D software for images, ranges and directions, as reported by