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Laser Eye Dazzle Threat Evaluation and Impact on Human Performance

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Sensors & Electronics Technology

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eye simulator, glare, handheld lasers, laser dazzling, Laser sources, optical scatter, visual model, visual performance


The outcome of SET198 research activities ("Visible Laser Dazzle – Effects and Protection") provides a firm basis in understanding the impact of laser dazzle on the visual performance of humans. That was achieved through computer eye modeling on one hand and their experimental validation by means of image exploitation of dazzled camera images and dazzle campaigns with human test candidates on the other hand. Moreover the impact of laser dazzling of humans on the accomplishment of tasks was studied in different scenarios to learn more about effective dazzling distances, regarding the potential of a specific laser source as well as the dazzled individual. Today, the number of dazzle events and laser attacks carried out with commercially available, compact and powerful laser sources such as “laser pointers” is steadily increasing. Thus, in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the impact of glare on task related experiments (i.e. visual impairment) caused by laser eye-dazzle, the dazzling pattern on the retina shall be evaluated by computer simulations and the perception by task performance studies. Since it is often difficult to perform tests on humans and to learn solely from such tests it is of great advantage to set up and to study dazzling by means of an eyelike camera working as a kind of an artificial eye. The sole availability of protection measures will not be enough to counter that threat. In order to feel safe or act safely in hazardous areas, an interaction of protection measures, rules of engagement and background knowledge is essential.


Two main axes of investigations are proposed: (1) Current existing eye models shall be improved in order to simulate more realistic dazzling patterns on the retina. That will also give input for an artificial eye-camera which will be designed; (2) In addition to the described visual performance degradation, it is important to understand the influence of dazzling on humans regarding dedicated task performance tests. Results may be compared with predicted distance values gained from a theoretical model (NODD, Nominal Optical Dazzle Distance). It is of further importance to evaluate in which way all these results are influenced when it is not the naked eye that is dazzled, but when protection goggles or magnifying optics are used. In the latter case it is of particular interest to find the conditions under which safe dazzling can be realized.


- Conduct task performance tests of humans under dazzle impact without eye-protection, with standard eye-protection (e.g. ballistic goggles) and dazzle protection - Improvement of current eye-dazzle-models - Design of an eye-camera to mimic the optical effects of laser dazzling of the human eye - Safe laser dazzling when magnifying optics are used - Evaluate the dazzling potential of novel laser sources, e.g. white light lasers Additional topics are: - Protection measures - Scatter of canopies/windshields - Joint field trial

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