This week, Meta, known until recently as Facebook, opened the prototype closet and showed how work is going on the glasses for virtual reality. There are several models to try to solve vision problems so that this world (mainly the Metaverse, of course) is more faithful to ours.
During the presentation of the models, Mark Zuckerberg listed four problems that his prototypes try to solve. The first is the resolution of the screen itself, so that the points responsible for generating the image clearly merge with the background. The first prototype to solve this point is called Butterscotch and achieves 55 pixels per degree – the original goal was to reach 60 pixels per degree.
Compared to a bezel on the market, the prototype manages to have a resolution two and a half times higher than that of the Oculus Quest 2. This already available product displays two Full HD screens, one for each eye. To lighten the hardware work, the design offers the highest resolution only in the main focus of the view, reducing the amount of pixels in peripheral vision.
The second prototype is called Half Dome, it works with focus and Meta has inserted varifocal lenses into it, which can mimic (to some extent) the work of our students. They allow a nearby object to look sharp when we look at it, while the background is blurred – and vice versa.
This type of testing also involves eye tracking, so the variation in focus is natural and the lenses get smoother movements.
The third is image distortion and here it means that at the edges of vision colors can be lost, or in the wrong proportion. The work of this prototype is to accelerate the response of the screen to the eyes, avoiding visual discomfort in the movement of the head.
Finally, dynamic range comes into play and you might know this name for HDR – the same as your cellphone and modern TV. With it, dark spots have more information and bright ones don’t explode, leaving the sky still blue even when the VR view points to a cave.
Meta wants to pass the Turing test of virtual reality
These works are just four of more than 10 exhibited by Mark Zuckerberg in his press release. The goal is to pass a test called the “Visual Turing Test”, where the vision in virtual or augmented reality is so real that the user does not notice the difference between this experience and the real world.
The name of the test comes from the famous Turing test, created in the 1950s by Alan Turing and focused on testing a human interacting with a machine, to see if the intelligence of the device is sufficient for the person not to not realize that the other side is not a human.
At Meta, that lens is more like making the Metaverse something less cartoonish and with the known limitations of current glasses. Mark Zuckerberg showed the prototypes for visual, eye problems and not for realistic rendering. It always depends on other hardware, which is usually a PC or a circuit present in the device.
All the prototypes presented are large, heavy or with exposed plates. For Olhar Digital, Tungjen Garcia, a spokesperson for Meta, said the research is still in its early stages and the products that should provide these solutions are still expected to take time (possibly years) to hit the market. .
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