Oculus Research Makes Advancements in Improving Visual Clarity and Depth in VR
Oculus Research has just released some exciting news on how their group of scientists have discovered a way to drastically improve visual fidelity in the VR space. Oculus Research Scientists Nathan Matsuda, Alexander Fix, and Douglas Lanman have discovered a method in which digital images can be seen a little bit more clearly with “focal surface” display.
Focal surface displays mimic the way our eyes naturally focus at objects of varying depths. Rather than trying to add more and more focus areas to get the same degree of depth, this new approach changes the way light enters the display using spatial light modulators (SLMs) to bend the headset’s focus around 3D objects—increasing depth and maximizing the amount of space represented simultaneously.
While focal surface isn’t holography, the Oculus Research team states that it meets at the middle ground between today’s technology.
“Quite frankly, one of the reasons this project ran as long as it did is that we did a bunch of things wrong the first time around,” jokes Research Scientist Fix. “Manipulating focus isn’t quite the same as modulating intensity or other more usual tasks in computational displays, and it took us a while to get to the correct mathematical formulation that finally brought everything together. Our overall motivation was to do things the ‘right’ way—solid engineering combined with the math and algorithms to back it up. We weren’t going to be happy with something that only worked on paper or a hacked together prototype that didn’t have any rigorous explanation of why it worked.”
Just last year Oculus Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash, gave a keynote speech depicting the next 5 years for virtual reality. He stated that we’ll see vast improvements in this front and it seems that his theories are somewhat coming to fruition.
“It’s no secret that multiple academic and industrial teams are racing to move beyond fixed-focus headsets,” explains Lanman. “Vergence-accommodation conflict (VAC), eyeglasses prescriptions, and sharp viewing of near objects all motivate adjusting the focus of a VR display. As a researcher, I’m excited to share what our team has uncovered.
This groundbreaking work done by the Oculus Research team has been accepted by SIGGRAPH and will be presented at the conference starting July 30 – August 3. You can read more about their research with focal surface today.