Facebook Reality Labs Says Varifocal is “almost ready for primetime”

Fb Actuality Labs, the corporate’s R&D division, beforehand revealed its ‘Half Dome’ prototype headsets which demonstrated practical varifocal optics sufficiently small for a shopper VR headset. At a convention earlier this 12 months, the Lab’s Director of Show Methods Analysis mentioned the newest system is “nearly prepared for primetime,” and in addition detailed the Lab’s analysis into HDR (high-dynamic vary) and pupil-steering shows for XR headsets.

Technological Readiness

Douglas Lanman, Director of Show Methods Analysis at Fb Actuality Labs, gave a keynote presentation on the SPIE AR VR MR 2020 convention earlier this 12 months. In his presentation, which was just lately posted on-line, Lanman launched a scale of ‘technological readiness’:

Fundamental Analysis – Fundamental ideas noticed Know-how Formulation – Know-how idea and utility formulated Preliminary Validation – Experimental proof of idea Small Scale Prototype – Know-how validated in lab Massive Scale Prototype – Know-how initially validated in supposed surroundings Prototype System – Know-how robustly demonstrated in supposed surroundings Demonstration System – System prototype demonstrated in operational surroundings First of a Sort Business System – System full and certified Usually Accessible Business System – Precise system confirmed in operational surroundings

Whereas the dimensions was initially utilized by NASA, Lanman likened it to the journey that analysis (stage one) takes during widespread availability of a product (stage 9).

Lanman defined that the work of researchers tends to concentrate on ranges 2 by four, at which level the analysis is revealed and the researchers transfer onto one other undertaking, however not often see their work attain the upper ranges on the dimensions.

The Show Methods Analysis group at Fb Actuality Labs is exclusive, Lanman mentioned, as a result of the group has the capability to work between ranges 1 to six, taking analysis all the way in which from “first ideas” by to polished prototypes; a lot nearer to a completed product than researchers usually see their work carried.

“So what’s actually distinctive about this Show Methods Analysis group is that we’re not fairly a startup, we’re not fairly a significant firm, and we’re not fairly lecturers. We actually play from absolutely the basic imaginative and prescient science by very polished prototypes—extra polished than you’d see from most startups—to attempt to do one factor, which is [have a genuine impact on future products].”

Half Dome “nearly prepared for primetime”

Picture courtesy Oculus

The group created a collection of prototypes dubbed ‘Half Dome’, which make use of varifocal shows that permit the headset to appropriately help each vergence and lodging collectively—one thing no shopper VR headset does up to now.

Half Dome three is the newest of the prototypes which Fb Actuality Labs has spoken about publicly. As a substitute of counting on a mechanically-driven varifocal show just like the prior prototypes, Half Dome three applied a static varifocal show which makes use of a collection of liquid crystal lenses that permit the headset’s optics to alter between 64 discrete focal planes. Half Dome three additionally employs ‘folded optics’ which considerably scale back the scale of the show module.

Measurement comparability: Half Dome three static varifocal show module with folded optics (left), Half Dome mechanical varifocal show module (proper) | Picture courtesy Oculus

The primary Half Dome prototype was revealed again in 2018. On the time, Oculus mentioned that clients shouldn’t “anticipate to see these applied sciences in a product anytime quickly.” A 12 months later the Half Dome three prototype was revealed, however Oculus was nonetheless tight lipped about whether or not or not the tech would discover its approach right into a headset.

Whereas it’s nonetheless not clear how shut Oculus is to productizing a varifocal or folded optic show, Lanman ranked each Half Dome and Half Dome three on the expertise readiness scale that he launched earlier on this discuss.

He positioned Half Dome, the mechanically-driven varifocal headset, at stage 6 (Prototype System), and Half Dome three, the static varifocal headset with folded optics, at stage 5 (Massive Scale Prototype). “It’s nearly prepared for primetime,” he mentioned of Half Dome three.

Proceed on Web page 2: A Step Towards “creating the world’s first HDR headset” »

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