As impressive as current virtual reality (VR) technology is, it is wise to remember that it is still in relatively early days of development. There are still considerable improvements that can be made and hurdles to overcome. On that front, Oculus are working on a new method of display to improve the viewing experience.
Currently, VR has difficulty with mimicking how human eyes focus. When humans look at things, they are able to focus on it no matter how close or far away the object is, but when we focus on that object, everything else becomes unfocussed. An effect known in photography as ‘bokeh’. VR displays currently are not able to achieve this effect correctly, resulting in the wrong areas being blurry.
In order to improve the ‘depth of field’ experience, Oculus are working on a system referred to as the ‘Focal surface display’ which is intended to more accurately model how human eyes work. Oculus describe the system thusly: “Focal surface displays mimic the way our eyes naturally focus on 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.”
Oculus are planning on demonstrating the technology at the upcoming Siggraph conference, which is dedicated to computer graphics and interactive media. It is not expected that the technology will appear in any Ocuus Rift systems any time soon, but is instead being used to research improved visual systems for VR users, especially those that will work better for people who wear glasses or have other visual problems.
VRFocus will bring you further news on developments in VR technology as it becomes available.