Avegant’s new Virtual Retinal Display is like Oculus Rift on steroids

avegants new virtual retinal display is like oculus rift on steroids

Head-mounted personal displays like Oculus Rift and Google Glass are pretty revolutionary devices. Years from now they’ll likely be remembered for bringing virtual/augmented reality into the mainstream, but, thanks to the breakneck pace of technological advancement, there’s already a new set of goggles in the works that make them look primitive by comparison.

In an exclusive interview yesterday with CNET, a small company called Avegant unveiled a prototype wearable display that’s unlike any other head-mounted device you’ve ever laid eyes on. Rather than relying on a set of high-resolution LCD displays placed close to your eyes (like Oculus Rift and its predecessors), Avegant’s technology cuts out the middleman. The Virtual Retinal Display they’ve developed has no screen – it actually projects images directly onto your retinas, which gives it a number of advantages over LCD-based headsets.

avegant virtual retinal displayFor starters, the image quality is reportedly much better. The goggles use an advanced micromirror array to beam two separate WXGA (1,280×768-pixel resolution) images at each eye, which is essentially double the effective resolution of currently-available Oculus Rift developer kits. Additionally, since these images are being generated with reflected rather than emitted light, they more accurately mimic the way we see in the real world. Pixels blend together more naturally this way, and, since there’s no screen anywhere, the wearer won’t experience the dreaded “screen door effect” that generally occurs when LCD’s or OLEDs are placed close to the eye.

This also makes the device extremely comfortable to wear. Not in terms of how it feels on your head, but rather how it feels on your eyes. Projecting an image directly into your eyeballs requires extremely precise alignment and focusing (which was surely a massive engineering challenge for Avegant), but once everything’s calibrated and adjusted properly, your eyes no longer have to focus for themselves – the gadget does it all for you. According to Avegant CEO Ed Tang, this effectively mitigates the problem of eye strain, and makes the device easier to wear for extended periods of time.

At this point in time the Virtual Retinal Display is still just a prototype, but Avegant is moving quickly to finalize the design. The first working model was apparently built back in July of this year, and the version pictured above came together in September. If the company can keep up this feverish development pace, it may very well have the product ready for CES. So be sure to circle back for more details in January.

Image credit: CNET

News

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD boasts monstrous torque, intimidating front end

Chevrolet has released the first official images of the new 2020 Silverado HD. The big-bodied truck stands out from the Silverado 1500 with a polarizing design that customers will either love or hate.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Features

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.