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Integrated real and virtual environment display system

Image Number 2 for United States Patent #5394517.

This invention relates to improvements in so-called "virtual reality" computer systems. The display system described enables the effective integration of computer generated images and real, naturally occurring images in the visual display units which provide the user with his entire visual stimulation. Areas of the user's notional field of view where computer-generated imagery is required (for example the cockpit canopy in an aircraft flight simulator) are coloured with a predetermined colour or intensity. Two video cameras are provided, each of which is mounted so that its field of view corresponds to a respective one of the notional fields of view of the user's eyes. The signals from the video cameras are analysed to determine the presence of the predetermined colour or intensity, thereby giving an indication that a computer generated image is required for that part of the video camera's field of view. If the predetermined colour or intensity is not present, the signal from the video camera is relayed directly to the appropriate one of the visual display units.

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