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Definition: heads-up display

A display technology that superimposes images onto the inside of the windshield to enable drivers to view the information while keeping their eyes on the road. Heads-up displays (HUDs) are also used in goggles and helmets.

Initially used in military aircraft to display avionics and instrument readings as well as gunsights in front of the pilot, heads-up displays migrated to commercial aircraft and later to automobiles. Passenger car systems display vehicle speed and objects detected in a collision avoidance system, such as a deer crossing the road ahead.

Heads-Up vs. Head-Mounted
The terms heads-up display and head-mounted display are often used synonymously. Technically, however, heads-up means that the display is transparent, and the viewer can see through it. See head-mounted display and automotive systems.

Science Fiction Is Here
Google Glass placed many smartphone functions in a heads-up display (see Google Glass). (Image courtesy of Google Inc.)

Automobile Heads-Up Using Your Smartphone
Several heads-up products provide GPS and other information from their app in a smartphone. In this HUDWAY Glass example, the phone lies on a rubberized base, and the app inverts the image to reflect in the transparent screen. (Image courtesy of HUDWAY, LLC, www.hudwayglass.com)