Over at SIGGRAPH this weekend, NVIDIA will be presenting a couple of new technologies to make augmented and virtual reality more comfortable.
First up, NVIDIA researchers will be talking about some "varifocal displays" techniques that give users the ability to focus more naturally. This includes Varifocal Virtuality and Membrane VR.
We’re demonstrating a pair of techniques that address vergence-accommodation conflict. That’s caused when our eyes, accustomed to focusing on objects in 3D space, are presented with stereo images with parallax depth cues, but which are presented on a flat screen at a constant optical distance. Both aim to solve this in different ways by varying the focus of virtual images in front of a user, depending on where they’re looking.
The first, Varifocal Virtuality, is a new optical layout for near-eye display. It uses a new transparent holographic back-projection screen to display virtual images that blend seamlessly with the real world. This use of holograms could lead to VR and AR displays that are radically thinner and lighter than today’s headsets.
The second demonstration, Membrane VR, a collaboration between University of North Carolina, NVIDIA, Saarland University, and the Max-Planck Institutes, uses a deformable membrane mirror for each eye that, in a commercial system, could be adjusted based on where a gaze tracker detects a user is looking.
NVIDIA will also talk about two new haptic feedback techniques that will let you feel in your hand what you see on your display:
One is a prototype VR controller that lets VR users experience tactile feedback while they play, relaying a sense of texture and changing geometry. Its soft skin can safely provide force feedback, as well as simulate different textures and materials.
The second is a controller that changes its shape and feel as you use it. So, a foam sword — the kind you might wave around at a sporting event — feels soft and squishy, yet can transform, in a moment, into a katana that feels longer and firmer in your grip.