‘Novel AR head-mounted display offers realistic 3D viewing experience’


LONDON, Sept 16: Cambridge researchers have developed a new augmented reality (AR) head-mounted display which they say delivers an unrivalled three dimensional (3D) viewing experience, without the commonly associated side effects of nausea or eyestrain.

AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information.

According to the findings published in the journal Research, the new device has an enlarged eye-box that is scalable and an increased field of view of 36 degrees that is designed for a comfortable viewing experience.

It displays images on the retina using pixel beam scanning which ensures the image stays in focus regardless of the distance that the user is fixating on.

Developed by researchers at University of Cambridge in the UK in collaboration with Huawei European Research Centre in Germany, the head mounted display (HMD) uses partially reflective beam splitters to form an additional ‘exit pupil’ — a virtual opening through which light travels.

This, together with narrow pixel beams that travel parallel to each other, and which do not disperse in other directions, produces a high quality image that remains unaffected by changes in eye focus.

“Our research offers a wearable AR experience that rivals the market leaders thanks to its comfortable 3D viewing which causes no nausea or eyestrain to the user,” said Professor Daping Chu, Director of the Centre for Photonic Devices and Sensors at Cambridge.

“It can deliver high quality clear images directly on the retina, even if the user is wearing glasses.

“This can help the user to see displayed real world and virtual objects clearly in an immersive environment, regardless of the quality of the user’s vision,” Chu said.

The results of a subjective user study conducted with more than 50 participants aged between 16 and 60 showed the 3D effect to be ‘very convincing’ for objects from 20 centimetres to 10 metres, and the images and videos to be of ‘vivid colour’.

It also showed high contrast with no observable pixels, and none of the participants reported any eyestrain or nausea, even after prolonged periods of usage over a few hours or even all day, researchers said.

The HMD is of high brightness and suited to a wide range of indoor and outdoor uses, they said.

Further research is exploring its potential use in areas of different applications such as training, CAD (computer-aided design) development, hospitality, data manipulation, outdoor sport, defence applications and construction. (PTI)