As the world gets more dystopian by the day, the virtual world gets more exciting by the minute. However, the one thing that seems to turn most people off from virtual reality seems to be the form factor of the headsets. This will soon change.
Facebook recently published a research paper describing the development of their thinnest headset to date. While probably still a decade away before it hits the market, it utilizes an interesting concept that uses a virtual lens within a hologram to capture light. It is called polarization-based optical folding or “pancake” optics and it reduces the distance required between the lens and the retina to present a virtual environment.
According to the research paper presented by Andrew Maimone and Junren Wang of Facebook reality labs, pancake optics allow the space between the beam splitter and reflective polarizer to be traversed three times which reduces the space needed and improves performance. The paper goes on to describe design alternatives, evaluated across a series of hardware prototypes, some of the design limitations and future work necessary for this to become fully practical. You can read the full research paper here.
In the mean time I am going to focus on building and curating content for this virtual world in my archive of Nigerian Culture – ViewNaija. It will be here before you know it. Are you ready player one?