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Nvidia unveils quad-resolution VR tech

Nvidia unveils quad-resolution VR tech

Nvidia's David Luebke has unveiled the company's research into cascaded displays, offering a quadrupling of perceived resolution and doubling of refresh rate for future virtual reality headsets.

An Nvidia researcher has revealed a manufacturing technique that could quadruple the perceived resolution of future virtual reality headsets, using a technique called 'display cascading.'

Interest in virtual reality has exploded of late, thanks largely to a record-breaking Kickstarter crowd-funding programme and subsequent $2 billion Facebook buy-out by Oculus VR, creator of the Oculus Rift headset family. Its initial product, the Oculus Rift Developer Kit, used low-resolution displays to create an immersive three-dimensional environment before the wearer; its successor, the Developer Kit 2, switches to a higher-resolution panel that better hides the individual pixels that can spoil the illusion. They're not entirely hidden, however, owing to the close-up nature of the display that floats just a few inches away from the wearer's eyes.

A prototype headset produced by Nvidia suggests a new technique for improving the perceived resolution of virtual reality displays, according to a report in MIT's Technology Review today. The brainchild of David Luebke, senior director of research in visual computing at Nvidia, the prototype uses a cascaded display system produced by modifying two otherwise unremarkable off-the-shelf liquid-crystal display panels.

The spatial light modulation panel - a layer of tiny shutters, one per pixel, that can block off or allow light through - from one LCD is removed and placed over a second panel, offset from its own. This offset effectively splits each pixel into four individually-addressable areas - quadrupling the effective resolution at the cost of a decrease in brightness. Coupled with some clever driver optimisations, Luebke claims a cascaded display offers both improved resolution and a doubling of perceived framerate - achieved by running the two panels out of synchronisation.

Luebke is to formally unveil the manufacturing technique at a conference in August, but the company's research is already available for access on the official website.

5 Comments

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Corky42 28th July 2014, 14:17 Quote
Even after reading this article, the linked Technology Review, the official website, the Full Technical Paper and watching the video provided on the official website, I'm still not sure how this works.

Why does some technology make you feel like the dumbest person on earth :D
I think i will stick to my Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks game :)
Bobman 28th July 2014, 16:23 Quote
Sure does sound clever - would be great to start seeing some of this tech hitting the retail market though.
ChaosDefinesOrder 28th July 2014, 17:25 Quote
The way I understand it, it's basically like how 1080i works, but with a physical shift in the interleaves frames, both at full resolution rather than sub-pixel sampling?
SAimNE 28th July 2014, 21:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Even after reading this article, the linked Technology Review, the official website, the Full Technical Paper and watching the video provided on the official website, I'm still not sure how this works.

Why does some technology make you feel like the dumbest person on earth :D
I think i will stick to my Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks game :)
some stuff requires a bit of knowledge on simpler and similar research in order to kick start your brain. Also this stuff definitely isnt something you should be ashamed for not immediately understanding xD
edzieba 29th July 2014, 10:16 Quote
This was revealed a few months ago, and last month one of the researchers involved - Douglas Lanman - was hired by Oculus. In addition to Nvidia/MIT's Cascaded displays, he also worked on near-eye light-field displays, and pinhole-emitter psuedo-lightfield (single resolved plane) transparent near-eye displays.
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