Feb. 3, 2022 - The goal of any simulator is to fully replicate real-world scenarios in a way that allows the trainee to suspend their disbelief that they are not "live". You want to represent the real world accurately and realistically to make the training experience directly transferrable to a real-life event or scenario. Unlike typical gaming applications simulators for training purposes run real-time with a huge amount of data to be processed and rendered simultaneously with minimal delay. The real-time visual system is therefore one of the most crucial elements in creating a fully immersive and true-to-life training environment. What to look out for when choosing a simulator projector?
The requirements for high-quality simulators
Visual acuity and accurate details
For simulator projectors, lifelike image quality is a must-have. The trainees will be watching the visuals from up close as if it was real; all inaccuracies will be noticed and shatter the immersion. Resolution, refresh rate, and brightness are the standard measurements in your visual system performance. The key is to bring perfect balance of these elements.
To portray the meticulous details of the real world, the projected image should have as high resolution as possible, and content should be shown with true color representation and high contrast. And even more so when working with dawn, dusk or night-time visuals.
And in blended installations, where multiple projection images are "stitched" together to create a single large field of view, it's imperative to ensure the same high-quality image across the entire surface.
High refresh rates create a seamless dynamic environment
Another important factor is how the dynamic visual environment is perceived. Selecting a projector which can match the processing power of the image generator frame for frame, pixel for pixel, is an absolute requirement. How the projection system is rendering the pixels will also determine the quality of the moving image being viewed by the trainee.
A high-quality projection system will have a higher rendering capacity making sure the dynamic environment the trainee sees delivers a real-world experience. Consider the out-the-window view during an aircraft's banking turn or the acceleration during a takeoff roll, where signage, indicators and objects on the ground need to be observed at a certain speed.
Reproducing the dynamic content at a higher refresh rate is needed so that the trainee can experience a seamless image without artifacts and distractions from motion blur.
A vision to trust
Since training simulators are often installed in enclosed environments with low ambient lighting, the brightness output of the projector is of secondary importance. (Most simulation projectors range between 3.000 lumens and 6.000 lumens.) However, the predictability and consistency of the light source are critical to guarantee uniform performance over time. With 24/7 operation requirements, maximum uptime of the projection system is extremely important.
In addition, the simulators are often installed on motion platforms. They need a smart and robust design to withstand the impact of the vibrations and shocks.
Often the simulator programs run for many years and having a safe and trusted partner to rely on year after year is paramount. Reliability, longevity and predictability are all key points ensuring the users have the same training experience today, as tomorrow, or in 5 years from now.
As a leading visual technology developer with a deep legacy in simulation and training requirements, Barco draws on core expertise to provide its simulation partners the most capable projection and advanced image processing products in the industry. We offer a scalable range of single-chip DLP LED and laser projectors – ranging between 3000 lumens and 6000 lumens - for any training task application. We are continuously addressing the market needs by bringing out new and better solutions, serving requirements both today and in the future.
The Barco F-series projectors are built specifically for the rigorous demands of the simulation industry with rich colors, good contrast levels and 24/7 operation. The high-quality build and long light source lifetime ensure the maximum uptime of the simulator while delivering the highest quality training.
A lot of training also happens in pitch-black night where the trainees use NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) and the dedicated FS-projectors are equipped with an additional IR LED light source that stimulate the NVGs - for the most realistic night training. As you need to train at any time of day the projectors allow fine-tuned dimming of the light-source for training during continuous time of day, from dusk, day, dawn and night.
Featured product: F400-HR
As the first native 4K single-chip simulation projector, the F/FS400-HR allows you to display images of stunning quality. Its resolution can be lifted to even 6K and higher using the powerful built-in pixel-shift capability to bring even the smallest details to life. But it's the extremely high-speed processing of up to 240 Hz at native 4K resolution that makes this projector truly unique for use in simulator systems. Even the fastest moving scenarios still show every pixel to perfection.
Add very high-speed processing, superb laser illumination and extreme reliability to the mix, and you get a 4K projector that ticks all the boxes for use in even the most demanding applications.
Barco Pulse electronics
All current Barco F/FS-series projectors use the same unique Barco Pulse electronics platform that is key to ensuring high processing capacity with the lowest possible latency. Barco Pulse allows for several demanding processing tasks to be performed in one single step. High-quality edge blending, warping capabilities, pixel-shifting… without adding additional latency. The platform also includes Barco's Constant Light Output (CLO) functionality which sets brightness levels across multiple projectors for predictability over time.
Barco Pulse works seamlessly with integration partners that develop their own geometry and calibration tools to automate installation and maintenance of multi-channel configurations.
Smear Reduction Processing
The Barco F-series projection portfolio is furthermore equipped with powerful Smear Reduction Processing (SRP™) and refresh rates up to 240Hz as well as "IG Pixel Shift" processing to provide the smoothest experience for any dynamic visual environment.
As the performance of IGs continues to increase, this drives demand for higher performance visuals pushing beyond current standards. To keep pace with these changes, Barco is committed to developing projection and other display technology to meet the needs of higher resolution and higher refresh rates.
Top 3 requirements to find the right projector for training simulators:
- Hyper-realism through razor-sharp images, perfect color rendering & smooth blending
- High rendering and low latency for smooth dynamic visuals
- 24/7 reliable solution with maximum uptime and predictable maintenance