Rugged display is reinvented with Thunderbolt 4 technology says GMS

General Micro Systems claimed to have reinvented the rugged display as it unveiled the X9 Spider Rugged Thunderbolt display. According to the company it is the lightest one inch thin, mobile-ready, multi-function touchscreen display available today in 12-, 17-, 24- or 36-inch sizes and in standard and HD resolution.

The display uses Thunderbolt 4 technology to be connected by a thin single copper or fibre optic cable up to 50m, which also powers the display and all its features. The display can be daisy-chained to multiple independent displays, while acting as a plug-in peripheral appliance for the main host computer by adding COTS M.2 add-in I/O like software-defined radio (SDR) or GPS, or a removable SSD.

The X9 Spider Rugged Thunderbolt display can be used in military and commercial systems to enable the display to be more than just an output device, said GMS. For the 12- and 17-inch versions, displays can function as ‘manpack’ portable tablets, for soldiers, marines or first responders. The company’s patent-pending LightBolt cables use Thunderbolt 4 technology enabling the display to be used separately, distantly tethered to the host computer, which may be in a Molle manpack or on a stationary vehicle.

Mobile features include an optional wide-angle camera for face to face conferencing and there are versions with lightweight carbon fibre frames for hand holding. Carbon fibre contributes to the display’s even cooling and lower weight, weighing 80 per cent less than metal displays.

The military-grade LCD technology is claimed to deliver the lightest, brightest and most full-featured display in the market.” Ben Sharfi, CEO and chief architect, GMS added that what makes it distinctive is that Thunderbolt 4 technology allows multiple displays to be daisy-chained, each with its own video feed, and to add internal I/O like MIL-STD-1553. It also has an 8Tbyte removable drive on the display and includes a wide-angle camera for F2F interaction, all while powering the display with the same cable used for the video feed.

Thunderbolt also includes PCI Express, to place any I/O or storage device installed in the display’s two M.2 sites on the bus to act as a host computer. Placing them in the display eases wiring, allows convenient cable disassembly for plug-in peripherals like audio headsets and push-to-talk, and brings radio electronics to the forefront and away from possible EMI sources while allowing antennas to be conveniently mounted on the display, explained GMS. Having a local storage drive in the display simplifies the user interface by allowing mission profile changes, data removal and system declassification using a removable M.2 2280 storage drive.

The X9 Rugged Thunderbolt display also reduces cabling and wiring with up to 100W of power sent to the display using the same data cable, eliminating a separate power source and cable.

Other features include resistive touch screen compatible with gloves, resolutions from standard to high definition, each supported with GMS’s “boot kick” glass, anti-reflective/anti-glare coatings, water resistant coating, and NVIS night vision support with special GMS backlight controls. A GMS-customisable 10-button keypad allows program-specific functions.

The display supports mounting options ranging from VESA and panel/surface, to portable/handheld, including full customisation options.

The dual Thunderbolt 4 ports support daisy chains of up to four displays such as three 4K 60Hz monitors, two 4K 120Hz monitors, or four HD 1080p monitors. By connecting to an X9 Spider Mission Computer, Thunderbolt 4 provides power plus 40 Gbits per second of data, including PCIe Gen 3, DisplayPort video, 10 Gbits per second Thunderbolt networking and USB. The display may be powered directly from the host up to 50m away or powered with external +20V DC power via a Smart Power (patent pending) connector for safe, ultra-low EMI and IP67 waterproof operation. An optional MIL-STD-1275 power supply is available, with optional 50ms hold-up.

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