Technology

Meta to make VR headsets

Published: Published Date – 12:18 AM, Wed – 22 June 22

Anyone who has experienced virtual reality through the bulky headsets would know that although it tries to mimic reality, it still has a long way to go before coming close to the real world. However, Meta (previously Facebook) seems to be solving this problem with its slew of VR hardware device prototypes to make the ‘metaverse as realistic as the physical world’.

In a one-and-a-half-minute video shared on his Facebook and Instagram pages, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shares four VR prototypes that make the display as vivid and realistic as the physical world and much more advanced than the traditional computer screens we use today.

“These VR prototypes will be solving the challenges of the retinal resolution, multiple focal depths, high dynamic range, and more – and then fit all that entire tech into devices lighter/thinner than anything that exists. We have the best teams in the world working on all of these problems,” Zuckerberg mentions in the post.

The video explains that Meta is looking to solve four challenges that VR headsets need to solve before becoming ‘indistinguishable from reality. The first challenge includes retinal resolution which means coming close to the resolution power of the human eye so that the picture is not pixelated and for that, it has built Butterscotch. “This prototype lets you comfortably read the smallest letters on an eye chart,” he said.

The second is the focal depth challenge which can be solved through varifocal and eye-tracking tech wherein the VR and AR headsets can focus on very close things and very far from the person. For this, Meta has created the Half Dome prototype that lets you focus on any object at any distance. The third is the optical distortions problem so that the view is imperceptible to the human eye.

The last challenge that the prototypes are trying to solve is High Dynamic Range so that the view is closer to the natural view which is often 10 or 100 times brighter than the modern HD TVs and high-end monitors. For this, Meta has built the Starbust, which, according to Zuckerberg, is the first HDR BR system that we know of.

Some reports also suggest that the technology giant is also looking at downsizing the VR headsets. This will be done through pancake optics (also known as folded optics), which effectively shrinks the distance between the lens and the display by folding the path back on itself using polarization to bounce the light back and forth before finally reaching the eye, says a report by roadtovr.com.

“The goal is to fit all of these technologies into a device that is lighter and thinner than anything that currently exists. So we built Holocake 2, a working experimental device that using holographic displays already play PC VR experience,” he said.

Now the question is when can we expect these headsets in the market? And for that, the wait might be longer than intended. “There is still a long way to go and I am excited to bring this tech to our products in the coming years,” Zuckerberg concluded.

It was in the year 2020, Facebook Reality Labs showed off a pair of concept VR glasses using holographic lenses, which looked like over-sized sunglasses, says a report on TechCrunch citing an article from Engadget. Building on that original concept, the company revealed Holocake 2 — its thinnest VR headset yet. It looks more traditional than the original pair, but Zuckerberg says it’s a fully functional prototype that can play any VR game while tethered to a PC, the report mentions.

By Sruti Venugopal with agency inputs

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