New Study Reveals Ways to Take Eye Fatigue Out of Virtual Reality

New technologies sometimes bring with them new problems, and often, it’s hard to see the issues before widespread implementation. And so it is with the booming field of virtual reality. As the industry fine-tunes what appears to be a revolutionary consumer technology, some obstacles still need to be overcome. Well designed display measurement can help here, and a recent study tackled one of the most peculiar of virtual reality bugs: eye fatigue.

Virtual reality (VR) has been around for a deceptively long time; primitive versions of the technology can be traced back all the way to 1980s. One thing that has always held it back is the uncomfortable nature of using it. That can range wildly from bulky headsets (an issue that has been solved at least to some to degree) to eye fatigue and nausea.

A new study published out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may have uncovered a breakthrough in this department. Using an optical 3-D mapping display, the research team there thinks it has solved the issue.

Current VR doesn’t actually use 3-D images but presents the illusion of it by presenting two 2-D images at the same time. This works in tricking the viewer’s brain into “seeing” 3-D, but it also leads to a fatigued mind (as it tries to overcompensate for what is, in essence, two images simultaneously).

Dr. Liang Gao and his team had a novel solution for that: why not just create a 3-D image? By using optical mapping and a specially designed spatial multiplexing unit, Gao’s team created a layered device that allowed images to appear at different depths.

And one of the key concepts of the overall design, as well as an aspect that sets it apart from past iterations of this general concept, is the use of organic light emitting diodes (OLED). OLEDs offer exceptional levels of resolution, which gives VR some room to grow in two areas that it needs to, energy consumption and more compact screen displays.

For VR to be a player in the consumer industry in decades to come, it will need advances in technology to make it easier to enjoy. Solving the eye fatigue issue is one such area, and there will be others. Without a doubt, Dr. Gao and his team have taken a big step forward; along the rest of the way, display measurement innovations will always need to be applied to have consistent products. Check out our OL 770-DMS and Aries spectroradiometer and our Mantis imaging colorimeter to see more.

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