A major obstacle when it comes to the widespread use of virtual reality is the weight and the wearing comfort of the headsets. They are heavy, clumsy and nothing for long-term use. Facebook has now introduced a new proof-of-concept virtual reality headset, which is intended to eliminate all these problems. Instead of a bulky headset that covers the entire upper half of the face, the new design of Facebook and Oculus looks like a big pair of sunglasses.

A view from above on the proof of concept (source: Facebook)

With a screen thickness of less than 9 mm, the new virtual reality headset looks more like a smart glass for augmented reality applications, but the social media giant claims that it is in no way inferior to current VR glasses.

This slim design is made possible by a new interpretation of image capture. The so-called holographic optics. While most current headsets have a refractive lens made of a curved piece of glass or plastic, the slim VR glasses focus on holographic images that work three-dimensionally with realistic depth. The holographic optics bend the light like a lens, but look like a thin, transparent sticker.

Facebook’s proof-of-concept headset also works with what is known as “polarization-based optical folding,” which, according to Facebook’s development team, controls the light so that it can move both forward and backward within the lens.

To illustrate these two innovative breakthroughs, the Facebook development team has provided an animation of the process:

An overview of the functionality (source: Facebook)

 

It is uncertain whether the glasses will ever see the market or only remain a research project, as is currently the case. But in order to really enable the widespread dissemination of virtual reality, lighter, more comfortable headsets are needed that are in no way inferior to current models.

Here is the white paper on the proof-of-concept!

 

Post picture: Facebook

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