DELPHINS is a display software environment that allows new ideas for display formats and functionality to be implemented through a combination of re-use and rapid prototyping techniques.

DELPHINS has been used to prototype and evaluate Synthetic Vision and Detect and Avoid displays

The DELPHINS architecture was designed to enable seamless integration of the resulting implementation both into existing simulation environments and aircraft. The following 9 screen captures show examples of display formats running in the DELPHINS environment.


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Both 2-D and 3-D instruments can be created using DELPHINS. Control panels with virtual input devices can be specified to interact with functions. All the examples use the same DELPHINS core modules. Depending upon the requirements of a specific applications, either existing instruments from a library containing over 100 predefined instrument objects can be selected, or new instruments can be designed. Standard features include the use of digital terrain elevation data to render terrain. The standard DELPHINS software can render a series of 2-D Primary Flight Display Formats, ego- and exocentric perspective synthetic vision display formats, plan-view navigation display formats and side-view display formats.



A DELPHINS SVS display environment comprises at a minimum two modules: MVCTUN and MAIN. MVCTUN is the module that generates the display format, MAIN controls MVCTUN by providing it with data and commands. A single MAIN module can control multiple MVCTUN modules, and these modules can be distributed over multiple computers. Both MVCTUN and MAIN are built upon 3 core modules: ISDxGL, ISD3DM and D3SINST.


The D3SINST module contains over 100 predefined 2-D instrument objects that can be combined into a particular display format. The ISD3DM library contains the functions needed to create, transform and render both static and dynamic 3-D objects. The ISDxGL library contains the functions that translate the graphics instructions generated by the functions in the ISD3DM and D3SINST libraries to the graphics API[1] of the target[2] environment.

For typical display format related research, the basic DELPHINS software package comprising MVCTUN and MAIN is the appropriate solution. In case of new visualization concepts that have to be integrated into existing display formats, ISD can perform the modifications needed to meet specific requirements in terms of data presentation, simulation functionality and integration with external data sources. These modification activities are provided as services[3].

For stand-alone display applications that require a different architecture than the one offered by the MVCTUN-MAIN configuration it is still possible to benefit from the existing functions in the ISD3DM, D3SOBJ and ISDxGL libraries. If new 2-D instrument objects are required, ISD can aid in the design using its D3S rapid prototyping system which enables graphical specification of the representation and functionality, supported with automatic code generation to create a dedicated D3SOBJ instrument library.

Examples of DELPHINS deployment

The following slide shows six examples of simulation systems in which the DELPHINS MVCTUN and MAIN applications are being used to render one or more of the displays.

2012-2018: Ohio University Research Flightdeck

2015: Surface guidance research system (Rockwell Collins Hoofddorp, The Netherlands)

2006 present: UAS research system Netherlands Defense Academy, Den Helder

2013: NASA Research Flightdeck for IAN project

2012-present: CSHIELD operator station used at the Royal Netherlands Naval College

2005 2013: UAS research system AOCS Nieuw Milligen


[1] The default graphics API is OpenGL but several other APIs are supported too

[2] The default target environment is MS Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10). Linux versions have been created for dedicated projects

[3] The services are offered under standard commercial terms and conditions