Microsoft looks to solve VR tunnel vision with LEDs

Looking through a virtual reality headset is a little like looking through a set of binoculars. Lens’ like the ones included in the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift only provide 110 degrees of vision, while natural vision provides more than 180 degrees. Because of this, virtual reality experiences can sometimes make people feel pretty sick, as their brain gets thrown off by the both realistic but unrealistic viewpoint. This is why a team of developers at Microsoft have set out to fix the issue of the 110 degree vision, and they’re doing it with LEDs.

By adding 40 RGB LEDs to each side of the goggles’ lens, the team at Microsoft was able to emulate an expansion of vision, tricking the mind into thinking the user was seeing naturally. Much like a light box projects similar colors behind your computer monitor, the LED’s inside the headset excrete a soft glow of light with the same color as the ones on the brink of the user’s vision. Our eyes only really focus on one thing at a time, so adding these color emitting diodes to the edge of a user’s vision can help to emulate a true 180+ degree view.


The team says that this solution might be better than just adjusting the resolution of the display. According to Carnegie Mellon PhD candidate Robert Xiao, higher resolution displays might actually increase the chance for motion sickness.

There is some academic research… suggesting that expanding field-of-view [in VR] with a full-resolution, high-fidelity display would increase the sensation of sickness. The primary reason is that you’re introducing a greater disparity between a person’s visual periphery and their sense of vection—their internal inertia sensors that tell them if they’re actually moving. Increase that and you increase the possibility of nausea.

Color tracked LED’s might be a good solution then, as it maintains the illusion that we have today while helping fix the black bar issue present in a lot of headsets. Though VR headsets maintain the majority of the projects direction, the team mentioned that AR might be something to look into in the future, stating the HoloLens headset specifically.

Are you interested in the technology? Do the black bars at the corners of your vision make you motion sick?

via: Ars Technica


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