Swiss company CREAL has recently released a promotional video demonstrating how its foveated light-field VR headset can represent how light exists in the real world without complicated eye-tracking technology, whose accuracy can vary greatly from person to person.
The video shows a prototype VR headset capable of focusing at any distance and displaying a high-resolution image in the foveated region. CREAL has been able to accomplish this using its innovative light-field display technology, which supports the two focus mechanisms of the human visual system: vergence and accommodation. As a result, the prototype headset enables natural eye focus and helps eliminate issues with eye strain.
Inside CREAL’s headset are two overlapping displays per eye. One of the two displays has a higher resolution and covers only the central 30° of the field of view, while the other display has a lower resolution and fills the rest of the field of view.
Because only a relatively small portion of the visual field is rendered at a high resolution, not nearly as much processing power is required as with traditional VR headsets. This makes it possible to increase the refresh rate for smoother motion.
The prototype headset created by CREAL isn’t intended to reach consumers. Instead, the company is interested in selling the technology to established and aspiring VR headset makers, such as Oculus and Sony.
While the current generation of CREAL’s foveated light-field technology is rather bulky, the next one should be considerably smaller and thus more suitable for consumer-focused headsets. If everything goes well, the second generation should be released in 2022.
Besides VR headsets, CREAL would also like to see its technology used inside AR headsets, where it could be used to accurately blend digital images into the real world without visual conflict.