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Facebook intros proof-of-concept VR device




Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) is presenting a new optical architecture for VR, which offers improved form factor, comfort, and optical performance.

Andrew Maimone and Junren Wang, researchers ar FRL, have proposed “Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality,” which use holographic optics and polarization-based optical folding. By combining the two, researchers may be able to develop sunglasses-like VR hardware. With less weight and better comfort, users may enjoy extended VR sessions for new use cases such as productivity.

The demonstrated design uses thin, flat films to cut down the display thickness to 9mm while supporting a comparable field of view to today’s consumer VR products. The Laser Illumination can also deliver a much wider gamut of colors compared to typical VR displays. Progress is made towards scaling resolution to the limit of human vision as well.


 

Holographic optics also open up a new advantage with its use of laser light sources, and that’s more vibrant colors compared to conventional LEDs. They are, however, more challenging to integrate.

To showcase the difference, check out the figure provided by Facebook below. Common LEDs are capable of producing colors in the sRGB gamut, while the prototype’s display lasers can produce a larger set of colors. This means colors are more vivid and saturated, like a brightly lit neon sign or the iridescent sheen of a butterfly wing. 

FRL’s goal is to create lightweight, comfortable, and high-performance AR VR technology. However, their current findings are purely research. Their technical paper identifies the current limitations of their proposed display architecture, and discuss other areas that will make the approach more practical.

Check out the demo in Facebook’s official post.



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