The company that built the light field display technology for mixed-reality headphones teased the impressive performance of its latest prototype – and could be a change for VR.
In a new promotional video, Swiss manufacturer CREAL demonstrates headphones capable of focusing over long distances and displaying high-resolution close-up images, marking a shift for mixed-reality technology hampered by less clear visual fidelity.
It is worth noting that CREAL does not produce its own standalone headphones, but a specific type of light-field display that it hopes to adopt like its Oculus and Sony for its PSVR 2 headphones. Given that this technology is capable of generating images that accurately represent the way we see light from the real world, we don’t expect it to pass long before we see it integrated into mass-market VR products.
According to CREAL, light field screens also support the focus mechanisms of the human visual system – vergence (stereo overlap) and accommodation (individual eye focus). This may sound complicated, but it basically means that its new technology can allow VR headsets to focus at any depth, while most on the market today can only work at a fixed focal depth.
The video above shows how CREAL light field technology allows headphones to shift focus from one part of the scene to another, much like the human eye. It will also not rely on the eye tracking technology of existing headphones to determine that focus, but will instead be able to focus at any depth, at any time – a kind of continuous camera that works in the background.
In addition to enabling dynamic focus, light field technology also makes virtual imaging much sharper than previously possible. CREAL says its display runs at 240Hz and is “approaching network resolution” – a dramatic improvement over even the best commercially available headphones on the market right now, such as Oculus Quest 2.
Goodbye load of yellow bricks
As you can see from the company’s prototype design, the improved capabilities of the light field technology mean that the headphones themselves are far larger than the existing models. It is basically a brick painted yellow for the face.
But CREAL says it is confident it will cut back on technology to enable more reasonable sizes, consumer-focused headphones – and that’s what the 2022 target is set for. This could mean that the next generation of VR headsets could benefit from these potentially revolutionary light field displays – though perhaps not as soon as Oculus Quest 3 editions.
Moreover, the company plans to adapt the technology to be implemented in smaller AR products, similarly Apple glasses could also become a CREAL breakthrough user.
So, the path once becomes a little clearer for the future of mixed reality.