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Stanford researchers unveil light-field VR headset that reduces eye fatigue, nausea

August 14, 2015 | Telepresence Options

Stanford-VR_headset.jpg

Story and images by Vignesh Ramachandran / ISPR

Assistant Professor Gordon Wetzstein's new Stanford Computational Imaging Group has developed a light-field stereoscope that creates a dramatically more natural virtual reality experience than what is present in today's leading headsets.

Try on any virtual reality headset and within a few minutes the sense of wonder might wear off and leave you with a headache or a topsy-turvy stomach.

Computational imaging experts say that's because current virtual reality headsets don't simulate natural 3D images. Now, researchers in the Stanford Computational Imaging Group have created a prototype for a next-generation virtual reality headset that uses light-field technology to create a natural, comfortable 3D viewing experience. With help from NVIDIA Corp., their findings will be presented and demonstrated Aug. 9-13 in Los Angeles at SIGGRAPH 2015, a conference that focuses on computer graphics and interactive techniques.

In current "flat" stereoscopic virtual reality headsets, each eye sees only one image. Depth of field is also limited, as the eye is forced to focus on only a single plane. In the real world, we see slightly different perspectives of the same 3D scene at different positions of our eye's pupil, said Gordon Wetzstein, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. We also constantly focus on different depths.

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