Visibility in Any Lighting Condition: Why Kestrel Ballistics Added LCD 2.0 to Their Heads Up Display


It’s hard to imagine a more demanding situation for a display than in a ballistics meter. Marksmen in the military, law enforcement, and sporting arenas rely on these devices to be clear and readable outdoors in extremely bright and low light situations – all while preserving precious battery life in the field.

Kestrel Ballistics, a unit of Nielsen-Kellerman Companies, is a leading producer of rugged ballistics instruments known for high performance and precision. Two years ago, Kestrel’s product engineering team was tasked with designing a next-generation display that would redefine performance for their flagship Heads Up Display (HUD). It had to meet their consumers’ standards and perform well in bright light without draining the device’s battery life. It was a tall task.

Challenge: Design a New Kind of Display that Redefines High Performance

Kestrel’s consumer research confirmed that display quality and visibility in bright sunlight mattered a great deal to their customers.

It was easy to identify that both issues could be resolved with the right type of display, but it was difficult to find a screen that was bright enough for use in the field that didn’t also drain their HUD’s battery.

Ideally, the lighting tech in the new HUD would meet all five items on their wish list:

  1. Night vision capability
  2. Visible in bright sun, a known challenge with traditional displays
  3. Visible in low light without draining the battery
  4. Deliver excellent color contrast and high resolution
  5. Easy to read in the marksman’s line of sight
  6. Low power LCD

Solution: An Innovative Frontlit Display that Doesn’t Take Up Battery Budget

During Kestrel’s search for the right display technology, they heard about Azumo’s frontlit reflective LCD by way of our work with Sharp from Matt Finley, an Astrorep sales representative, who suggested it might be the right solution for this project. Seeing this display in use in a very different context was the proofpoint they needed to test out this technology.

Azumo’s frontlit reflective LCD allowed them to get the brightness they need with a single RGB LED that supports both night vision and low light readability, as well as their other requirements for the Heads Up Display:

  • No big battery budget required.
  • Bright when it needs to be, the display otherwise uses ambient light.
  • LCD 2.0 is slim and easily drops into the product design.

As Matt Finley explained, “Azumo won the design because our tech was compelling: the front light solution fit into Kestrel’s product design, and it was a low power LCD option. The cost was competitive with the other solutions they tested, and the thin frontlit solution looks great.”

Results: Best-in-Class Display for a Specialized Audience that Appreciates Precision

Because LCD 2.0 requires 90 percent less battery power than a comparable backlight, this display option enables marksmen to spend longer in the field without needing to recharge.

It’s easy to read, performs beautifully outdoors, and requires little power to run in direct sunlight and low lighting conditions.

Curious if LCD 2.0 is a good fit for your next project? Schedule a quick discussion with an Azumo engineer today.

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