Seeing an imagined world clearly

Researchers aim to make virtual reality more user-friendly for those who wear spectacles

14 Feb 2017 by Selina Powell

Man wearing a virtual reality headsetUsing adaptive technology could help to improve the virtual reality experience of spectacle wearers.

Researchers at Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering Department tested 173 people between the ages of 21-64 using virtual reality headsets, known as near-eye displays.  Within the group, there were myopic, hyperopic and presbyopic participants.

The researchers found that incorporating adaptive technology, such as lenses that focus in real time and stereoscopic eye trackers, helped to correct the users’ common refractive errors. The changes altered the virtual reality display to reflect natural viewing conditions.

Stanford University Electrical Engineering Department Assistant Professor, Gordon Wetzstein, told OT that virtual and augmented reality displays were becoming increasingly popular.

The technology had the potential to become the next computing platform, Dr Wetzstein highlighted.

“Making sure that this technology is accessible to all users and that it generates a visually-comfortable experience is important,” he emphasised.

The researchers evaluated how to best provide focus cues with near-eye displays, and what technologies were effective for different users.

However, Dr Wetzstein explained that there were still many challenges remaining, including designing light guides to support eye tracking within a thin device.

He concluded: “I think what’s interesting is that a lot of the knowledge within the optometrist community is crucial for designing great visual experiences with emerging near-eye displays.”


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