“What’s next?” is often the question when it comes to the latest developments in Virtual Reality and immersive displays solutions.
We have seen many innovations from countless motion related devices to give you the sense of walking within a virtual world to devices worn that offer a sense of tactile feedback and the ability to touch virtual content that simply does not exist. Beyond these, the evolution of Head Mounted Displays (HMD’s) continues at a rapid pace with extended fields of vision, higher resolution, mixed reality cameras, wireless video and much more.
Being at the forefront of these emerging technologies is often a challenge, as many new technologies fail to meet user expectations, and the majority are aimed at the lucrative entertainment sector rather than meeting serious professional grade needs of industry and business, where they need to deliver a return on investment.
However, one industry innovation that is making its way into professional grade VR displays is Multiview 3D stereo capable projection technology.
Traditionally, 3D technology has suffered from a significant immersive limitation: each user was seeing exactly the same image, regardless of where they were positioned, wearing 3D glasses, much like those worn in the modern digital cinemas. Large audiences used to be accommodated before a Powerwall or traditional VR theatre configuration of such displays each with the ability to perceive depth within the computer-generated content, but always looking at the same view of an image.
This works for cinemas, where audience members are not moving around the image. But for industry, commercial and research applications, where the users need to comprehend the content more naturally, by walking around it and acquiring views from unique angles, there is a need for a more flexible solution.
With the new advances in technology, it is now possible to have a Multi-View 3D projection: a single projector, with ultra-fast frame rates that accommodates several viewers, each being tracked and each having a view of the image that remains appropriate to their changing position. This allows the users to see and interact with each other in a truly shared collaborative manner.
Multi View 3D is usually used with immersive CAVE displays or high-end Powerwall displays. These displays use spatial tracking technology to compute where in space the glasses worn by an individual are looking. In that way, the appropriate corrected view can be rendered in real-time for each viewer.
This type of immersion from a visual perspective makes such displays very useful. Users can crouch, look around and under objects and understand them, making the design and review process more efficient.
Multiview 3D stereo is now a reality and a feature of production-based projection hardware. What this means is that the projectors are capable of being driven with video inputs from more than one Image Generator source and their onboard electronics can process the video inputs fast enough to deliver separate images to multiple eyes within the normal visual frame.
This innovation enables for example two people or more to be stood side by side each with tracked eyewear – 3D glasses – but both individuals will have their unique computed views presented to their glasses.
Both participants can use wireless interactive devices to navigate and move through the same virtual content before them, yet both individuals have a correct view point no matter where they are looking. This is the case even if they are moving through a remote part of the content, away from the other user or crouched down looking up at an object, whilst the other user is looking at the perspective from above the same object.
This type of immersion using 3D glasses fosters collaborative use, as the users can be totally aware of their immediate surroundings, can see the other person’s facial expressions and body language instead of being isolated in their experience should they have used headsets. This means that the communication is natural and the resulting decision-making process is faster.
The advent of brighter laser based solid state projectors also ensures that despite losing brightness that is shared to each individuals’ eyes the experience remains useable.
Furthermore, this technology creates new applications and possibilities to use projected display screens. It is now possible to have two totally different and unique experiences delivered to the same display surface: perhaps one person is immersed in architecture whilst another is within a medical application. This unique technology allows for live dual usage of a single display.
For entertainment or presentation usage to a wider non tracked audience, a flythrough or experience could be presented to half the viewers whilst the other half receive completely different content. If mixed with headphones, this could enable different languages and experiences more tailored to particular audience types or perhaps a version omitting age related content whilst still entertaining the adults beside them.
Antycip is keen to bring these innovations in projection technology to VR clients and we look forward to seeing how they can be used to fit your display usage and applications going forward.