One important component of AR/VR devices is the display, which is responsible for presenting virtual images to the user. Optics play a crucial role in creating a high-quality display that is comfortable to use.
In AR/VR devices, there are typically two types of displays: near-eye displays and projection displays. Near-eye displays are used in devices like VR headsets, where the display is positioned very close to the user’s eyes. Projection displays, on the other hand, are used in devices like AR smart glasses, where the virtual images are projected onto a semi-transparent screen that is positioned in front of the user’s eyes.
Optical components such as lenses, mirrors, and waveguides are used in both types of displays to control the light that is emitted from the display and direct it towards the user’s eyes. For example, in a near-eye display, lenses are used to focus the light from the display onto the user’s eyes. In a projection display, mirrors and waveguides are used to reflect and direct the light towards the user’s eyes.
Optical coatings are also used to enhance the performance of AR/VR displays. For example, anti-reflection coatings can be applied to lenses and other optical components to reduce glare and improve image clarity.
AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) use transparent displays to overlay virtual content in the real world. This requires precise control over the direction and angle of the light that is transmitted through the display, as well as the ability to adjust the focal length of the optical system to match the distance of the virtual objects. Additionally, AR/MR often involves the use of waveguides and other optical elements to direct and shape the light in specific ways.
VR (virtual reality), on the other hand, uses opaque displays to completely immerse the user in a virtual environment. Optics is critical for VR because the display must be able to create a convincing 3D image that appears to be at a fixed distance from the user, even as they move their head and eyes. This requires high-resolution displays with a wide field of view, and complex optical systems that can adjust the focus and alignment of the image for each eye.
Here are some, but not limited to difficulties we will see during the AR/VR/MR application
- Field of view: AR/MR requires a wide field of view to create a convincing virtual overlay on the real world. However, creating a wide field of view often leads to optical aberrations and distortion, which can reduce the image quality and impact the user’s experience.
- Display resolution: VR requires high-resolution displays to create a convincing virtual environment. However, as the display resolution increases, the pixel size decreases, which can make it difficult to maintain high image quality while also controlling the amount of light that reaches the user’s eyes.
- Depth perception: Creating a convincing 3D image requires precise control over the convergence and accommodation of the user’s eyes. This can be challenging to achieve with current display technology, and can lead to visual discomfort and fatigue.
- Size and weight: AR/MR devices must be lightweight and compact to be practical for everyday use. However, this can limit the complexity of the optical system and make it difficult to achieve high-quality images without sacrificing portability and comfort.
Overall, optics plays a critical role in enabling the high-quality displays that are essential for creating immersive AR/VR experiences. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule a free consultation or request for quote on your next project.