Nvidia teams up with Stanford to develop ultra-thin VR glasses, just 2.5mm

If you see a person wearing some cumbersome instruments in front of them and waving their limbs from time to time, you can probably guess that this person should be playing a VR game, and the "big guy" that looks like an eye protector is VR. head-mounted device.

▲ Picture from: NVIDIA

VR technology has improved a lot over the years, but VR headsets have always been a little bulky (it's too unfriendly to the cervical spine). Therefore, how to make them thin and light has become a problem that cannot be ignored in this field.

To make VR headsets lighter, NVIDIA, in collaboration with two teams of Stanford University researchers, released a paper showing the latest research — ultra-thin holographic glasses for virtual reality (VR) .

▲ Picture from: NVIDIA

In fact, VR headsets are still such an inconvenient size today, one of the main reasons is that technical barriers have yet to be broken. The display principle of the current mainstream VR head-mounted display devices is that the left and right eye screens display images of the left and right eyes respectively.

In order to allow users to see the picture on the screen in front of them with the help of optics, a lens for adjusting the focus is essential. In addition, it is necessary to integrate many components such as screen, sensor, camera, CPU, GPU, etc. in one device, and it is difficult to think of a small size.

▲ Picture from: NVIDIA

In this case, the holographic glasses developed by the research team of NVIDIA and Stanford are different from other VR display devices, which means that the technology used is naturally different.

The VR ultra-thin holographic glasses consist of a pupil-replicating waveguide, a spatial light modulator and a geometric phase lens, and through a new algorithm that calculates the correct phase according to the user's different pupil sizes, it allows the lens only 2.5mm thick. The components provide a full-color 3D holographic image through an optical stack.

▲ Picture from: NVIDIA

It is worth mentioning that Reality Labs, Meta’s VR research and development department, has also previously demonstrated a glasses-shaped VR display in development with a thickness of 9 mm, which uses folding optical systems and polarizers to create holographic images.

▲ Picture from: Meta

Compared with the two, the holographic glasses developed by NVIDIA and Stanford seem to have more advantages, but it is a little regrettable that both products are under development, and there are still many limitations that need to be improved.

For example, the holographic glasses are currently only demonstrated through large-scale desktop models and wearable prototypes. The driver board is not included in the glasses, and it is still far from the expected thinness. The diagonal field of view is only 22.8°, and the 2.3mm static and 8mm dynamic eye boxes mean that the field of view is also quite limited and not practical.

▲ Picture from: NVIDIA

Although the VR holographic glasses developed by NVIDIA and Stanford have technically left time to solve the shortcomings. But it also represents a hope: maybe in the future we won't have to risk our cervical spine suffering to play in VR.

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