Wall of Reality Labs Prototypes is trying to find its way to the perfect glasses
In October last year, Facebook became Meta to represent gambling in the metaverse, an idea that combines virtual elements with the real world. Since then, it hasn’t revealed much about how it intends to move the company forward – meanwhile, the division of the company responsible for the project (Reality Labs) has recorded a series of losses. This week, however, Mark Zuckerberg showcased some of the efforts to bring virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (VA) to the “mainstream”.
The company’s founders made a round table with cars from different countries, including Estadão, to illustrate the advances and barriers to creating VR glasses that have enough potential for content to be interpreted by our eyes as “real” – according to him, no device of the already published type can do that. The presentation was shown away, and only prototypes were shown by the company and no products were ready for sale.
To determine if glasses come with the ability to deceive the eye, Reality Labs has created a test called “Turing observation”. The inspiration is clear: the Turing test, invented by Alan Turing in 1950 to assess whether a computer could be “human”. Visual Turing testing, therefore, refers to how a machine can display content that becomes “real”. “It’s a completely standardized test, because what’s important in it is human perception of what’s seen, human experience, not technical measurements. A test where no VR technology is currently available. ”
The research identified four areas where progress is needed to pass the Turing eye test: resolution, focus, distortion and brightness. They all seem to be united by anyone who wants to produce screens, but some of the rules and achievements of TV and mobile manufacturers are not applicable to VR panels.
The Butterscotch prototype attempts to increase the resolution of virtual reality glasses
The decision is fundamental for anyone planning to produce a real-world panel. Without the required number of pixels, the image is distorted, which warns our eyes (and brain) that the image is not “real”. With 2D screens, such as televisions and mobile phones, this has been solved for a long time. However, with VR glasses, which have a wider viewing angle, this hasn’t happened yet – it takes a lot of pixels to fill this area.
“We estimate that to get a 20/20 vision (health parameters that indicate healthy vision) across the entire human perspective, you need to achieve solutions beyond 8K, ”Zuckerberg said. To reach the minimum limit to deceive the eye, the company estimates that 60 pixels per pixel is needed.
Therefore, the company has produced a hybrid lens compatible with the highest resolution, which is capable of reaching 55 pixels per resolution. It is one of the prototypes shown on the round table. Called Butterscotch, the glasses feature a series of exposed boats and boards, which show that the road is still a long way off. In addition, it has other limitations: the field of view is reduced to about 60 degrees, half of that of Quest 2, for sale on Facebook – the brand is far from the human field. The company’s goal is to continue to make progress by expanding its vision space with high -quality solutions.
The Half Dome family has evolved to incorporate varifocal technology and reduce its weight and size.
Another problem Reality Labs has found is how VR glasses work against the workings of our eyes. “In the real world, our eyes constantly change shape to focus away from everything we see. Thus, they can clearly understand the light coming from that distance. But that’s not what happens with VR, ”Abrash said. That is, the material of the type has problems with the depth of focus.
“It means the focal point is fixed. This point is usually 1.5 to 1.8 meters in front of us, so we can see things farther away. The problem is that virtual objects are closer than sending opposite signals to our eye system. “The struggle to find focus at one point is one of the main reasons for the fatigue caused by VR glasses in people – for companies looking to fully immerse themselves in the metaverse, that’s a major barrier to of the use of equipment.
Facebook’s solution is to design a lens that moves dynamically, like the camera’s autofocus. The technology, called varifocal, changes the focal depth to fit the point we are looking at.
Therefore, the team presented a series of prototypes, called the Half Dome, which showed improvements in varifocal technology, in addition to the size and weight of the equipment. In the latest version, the Half Dome 3 has expanded the technology range to 140 degrees, reduced its weight by 200 grams and replaced the mechanical part with crystal glass.
Once again, the company acknowledges that keeping an eye on technology is still a long way off. Reality Labs said users need to improve eye control for autofocus to work properly.
Facebook testing shows how to have 20/20 visibility with a VR headset
According to Facebook, surveillance is important to solve another problem with VR images: manipulation of virtual objects caused by optical systems. “The virtual image changes as the eye moves to focus in different directions. The algorithms (image enhancement) is very static. That means they don’t go well when someone looks around a scene, ”Zuckerberg explained. In other words, with today’s technology, there will always be things going awry in the metaverse, which sends a message to the brain that what is seen is wrong.
“Our adjustments need to be active when the eye is moving and working at all possible depths of focus with varifocal technology. We also need to be quick but intangible, and the vision is very fast,” he said. ”Said the founder of Facebook.
To study the effects of manipulation in VR and try to find a solution, Reality Labs has set up a simulation simulator, a tool that simulates different types of manipulation when testing the design of certain glasses. The device reduces the cost because it eliminates the need to repair glasses in the real world. In the end, Facebook hopes to find the best design and correction algorithm for glasses that can pass the Turing eye test.
Zuckerberg presented the Starburst, a prototype with a powerful brilliance and an unobtrusive size
The last major problem faced by Abrash’s team has already been faced by TV and mobile manufacturers: the brightness level of the panel, also known as HDR abbreviation and measured in nits. According to the company’s study, the ideal is for the panel to reach 10,000 nits to be fooled by the eye, but VR glasses are far from that. Quest 2 goes up to only 100 nits.
At the presentation, Zuckerberg showed a prototype called the Starburst with a high -resolution light behind the LCD panel, which reaches 20,000 nits. But it’s a big, heavy piece of rubbish that has a handle to hold it in — it can’t be stuck to your face. So Facebook knows there’s still a long way to go in covering the technology with comfortable devices-and the company hasn’t given a deadline if it plans to introduce these solutions.
laser in the eye
Holocake 2 is the most advanced VR headset prototype on Facebook
One of the company’s efforts to show a closer look at what people want to use is a prototype called Holocake 2. Although it didn’t explain what points are relevant to Turing’s observation of device attacks, Facebook is said it collected some of the studies. in a shape reminiscent of swimming goggles.
The focus of the conversation was on how he managed to reduce the optical system. “In most VR glasses, the lens is thick and needs to be placed a few inches away from the screen so that they can focus properly and direct light directly into the eye. That’s why the front ‘ the device feels very heavy, ”Zuckerberg said.
According to the executive, Holocake 2 uses two new technologies. The first reduces the space between the panel and the lens and the second reduces the lens itself, replacing the curved lens with a flat lens, called a holographic lens.
“We send light through a holographic lens and not a lens. Holography is a record of what happens when light strikes the earth. Just as holography is more admirable than what it shows, holographic optics is more admirable than a model camera, but it affects the incoming light in the same way.
To reduce the space between the panel and the lens, Facebook said it would be necessary to use a different light source for the LEDs. “Holocake needs a special laser, which is different from the LEDs used in VR glasses today. Although lasers are rare today, they are not often found in products with the same display size and cost required for commercial equipment, ”Abrash explained. .
With all of this, Facebook has launched a project called Mirror Lake, which aims to incorporate varifocal and visual surveillance technology – it seems like a gamble for the company’s future. It is not known if this project will ever see the sun, as only photos of the device are shown.
Although the company explained the challenges of presenting a real -world image, some key issues were left in the discussion, including energy consumption per technology examined, cost, and comfort in use. By mere description, for example, it is not possible to determine whether the systems produce heat on the faces of those wearing the materials.
Zuckerberg concluded the presentation with hope, saying that if he can overcome all the challenges presented, we will have a class of equipment “very different from what we have now”. Animation is more than science and engineering. By betting on the metaverse as a company, executives need virtual reality to become a reality.