Today I was thinking about Silicon Micro Display’s ST1080 head mounted display. This unique HMD has a 10% transparent screen. When I first head about that feature, typical wearable computer / augmented reality applications came to my mind. Those are neat applications, but there’ a lot of development to be done in that department before we see really useful functions come from such applications of the ST1080. But then it hit me. There’s already a product on the market that would work perfectly with the ST1080. Enter Steel Battalion.

Steel Battalion is a videogame that was made for the original Xbox. Now I know what you’re thinking: “That’s so last-gen!”. But Steel Battalion had something that other games did not (and still do not, unless you’re a flight-sim junkie). A badass 40 button controller complete with pedals, which would work perfectly with the 10% transparent ST1080 because you’d be able to look through the display to see which buttons, levers, and dials you need to use:

Even the interface of the game, which seats you directly inside the cockpit of a mech, seems to fit perfectly with the ST1080. 3D would add to the level of immersion even further. Take a look at the startup sequences from the game; tell me this wouldn’t be awesome with an HMD like the ST1080.


It’s a shame that Steel Battalion was released back in 2002, instead of more recently alongside the ST1080. There is a new game in the series in development, but unfortunately they decided to seriously offend those that dropped $200 on the original game/controller by opting to go with Kinect controls instead of adapting the original controller. Still, it should be possible to play the game using the ST1080 with an original Xbox and the right adapters.

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Fortunately, it seems possible to use the Steel Battalion controller in conjunction with a PC, which means you could easily hook up the ST1080 to a computer to play some more modern games which would offer higher visual fidelity (and 3D capability) than the original Steel Battalion game which launched nearly 10 years ago. I found a website which appears to offer all the files necessary to hook the Steel Battalion controller up to a PC.

I’d love to try Steel Battalion with the ST1080 from Silicon Micro Display. I think it could be a seriously awesome combination. I’ll certainly suggest the idea to Silicon Micro Display, maybe they’ll set up the rig at CES for folks to test!

Oh yeah also don’t forget that the ST1080 pricing and availability info is expected to be announced tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Anony Mouse

    Reminds me of when I played Exorex on a Virtuality machine. I’ve wanted a HMD ever since!