A collaborative project between Cambridge University’s Center for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) and Huawei European Research Center develops a new type of head-mounted device that allows consistent field-of-view (FOV) in AR.
One of the most important technologies needed in developing wearable AR devices is an eye-tracking system. The perspective of your binocular vision is a vital element in making rendered objects in augmented reality feel like it is present within your FOV. Without it, positional accuracy becomes more difficult, since your eyes move independently even if the device itself (on your head) is not moving at all.
The new head-mounted display built by the researchers double-down on this important AR device design aspect by using partially reflective beam splitters, so as to “form an additional exit pupil”. This is then combined with parallel pixel beams in order to recreate a crisp image on the device’s viewing screen that is completely unaffected by your eye’s current focus.
The result, as the research describes it, is a “convincing” 3D viewing experience that is devoid of any of the standard visual discomforts associated with your eyes’ adjustment to AR glasses.
The study had a sample of about 50 test users, all of which are people very familiar or are directly associated with AR technology. They told the researchers that the 3D objects were consistently convincing enough at distances starting 20 cm to 10 m. Color and detail are one of the noticed aspects of the rendered AR objects, as the research even claims that images “had no observable pixels”.
Given that we are not part of the test sample group, we can only imagine how “pixel beam imaging” actually looks like with their custom AR head-mounted display. The demo video certainly doesn’t help, but the demonstration involving different focus perspective did provide us some visual teaser as to how constant the FOV is for its user.
Would this be the birth of yet another commercial AR prototype in the future? Who knows. But it would perhaps be better if the technology was given to all AR hardware developers instead.