Feb 28, 2020

All you want to know about AR: displays

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Augmented reality is a technology that has entered almost all spheres of human life. And now we are talking not only about games. Today, technology is actively used in medicine, tourism, culture, and types of business. Before you implement augmented reality in your projects, you should understand how it generally works. We have prepared you a whole series of articles about technologies and tools with which AR elements are created.

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Equipment

VR/AR displays are special devices that can simulate a variety of audiovisual three-dimensional spaces as well as complement our reality. The effect of full presence is created thanks to the adaptive transmission of the image to each eye separately and tracking of all head movements with a gyro sensor and an accelerometer.

The market has about 1000 models of glasses and helmets, so there are plenty to choose from. By appointment, they are divided into 4 types:

  • For game consoles;
  • For PC and laptop;
  • For smartphones;
  • Standalone.

For 2020, two types of displays for VR/AR are relevant — video and optical. Virtual reality systems vary in design, purpose, and cost. Let’s consider each separately.

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Helmets or video displays

Virtual Reality Box is nothing but the VR Headset like Google Cardboard, Oculus, HTC Vive, PS4 VR. They are completely immersed in a new environment, so they stunningly impress people. These include devices for PC and game bailiffs, as well as those into which smartphone is inserted.

How do the helmets work? The image from the smartphone or PC is transmitted to two lenses that are located inside the headset. An adapted picture is transmitted from it, separate for each eye. It depends on the type of device. Glasses separate the image that the left and right eyes see using a special partition.

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Advantages of video displays:

  • Full immersion in virtual reality, even if the glasses have moved;
  • Excellent tracking, which allows you to determine the absolute position of the object in space;
  • Simpler technology;
  • Thanks to calibration, helmets practically don’t require adjustment;
  • Don’t require additional cameras to determine the position.

Disadvantages of video displays:

  • VR requires a powerful technical base to transmit a high-quality picture;
  • So far, VR still has differed from reality in picture quality;
  • People with weak vestibular apparatus may experience nausea;
  • When used in various fields, for example in an enterprise, the possibility of injury to the user cannot be ruled out;
  • To determine whether the user is looking into the distance or in front of him, additional settings are required.

What to expect from VR helmets in the future?

Leading-edge VR development companies are improving an eye-tracking. Based on this, the focal length is adjusted. The technology works by surrounding the edges of each display lens with infrared lamps. Combined with SMI software, this allows computers to accurately and incredibly quickly determine where a person is looking.

There is also Foveated Rendering, which allows you to display in good quality only that part of the frame on which the person is focusing, and all that is on the periphery is blurred. This type of rendering is based on the characteristics of human vision. So far, such technologies can only be seen at exhibitions, but in the future, they will be widely used.

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Glasses or optical displays

This type of display includes the famous AR device Google Glass. These are glasses that show us a little more than just the world around us. Using lenses, Google Glass imposes virtual objects on it. No less popular examples of smart glasses on the market are competitors Magic Leap and HoloLens.

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But what are their differences? They lie in the parts where the computer, camera, and sensors are located. Images and information are superimposed on existing reality in the user’s field of vision using optical displays. Holographic waveguides and other systems, in turn, display the image and provide a graphic overlay on the picture of the real world. Optical displays are divided according to the principle of operation on:

  1. Laser Beam Scanning (LBS). This technology is the future of smart glasses. Here the laser beam is reflected from the holographic film on the glasses and gets into the eyes, projecting the image.
  2. Reflective prisms. A small prism reflects the light of the projector into the eyes. Implemented in Google Glass for small images.
  3. Waveguide. Light is reflected from the walls of the prisms inside and gets to the right place. Top technology, which is implemented in the most popular models like Hololens, Rokid Vision, Magic Leap.
  4. Birdbath. Light is reflected through the translucent glass and reflective elements. This type is outdated and practically not used.
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Advantages of optical displays:

  • The most convenient work with technology, because a person sees the world around him as usual;
  • User can record images, video, and audio by activating the function by voice commands or by touch panel;
  • Augmented reality glasses can be turned off and on when needed;
  • This option is safer than helmets and will not interfere with the review, even with lags.

Disadvantages of optical displays:

  • Even small hair can violate the picture;
  • Too obvious glare and brightness, which prevent users;
  • Small viewing angle;
  • The picture should be projected clearly into the pupil, which means that not all users will use the same models. For a perfect hit, you may need to measure the distance between the pupils to make an individual model.
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Which is better to choose?

Comparing all the pros and cons of devices, technology with video displays wins the B2C market. They practically don’t need calibration and many sensors, and the image immediately looks good. Also, a plus is a large library of frameworks.

The quality of video displays depends on the frequency of the processor — the higher the indicator, the sharper the picture and the image will change without delay. Internal memory is important for standalone devices. Variation in the sizes and optical parameters of the lenses will achieve maximum image quality.

Conclusions

Augmented reality gadgets provide great opportunities for projects. Not all of them are successful, some developments are outdated, but AR/VR is an area that is developing rapidly day after day. We have examined in detail the main types of equipment so that you can choose the right option for implementing your ideas.