Take your glasses off — Stanford is making adaptive VR headset displays

stanford vr adaptive intel news 2017ces 11
You no longer need to settle for a VR headset that can fit your glasses inside it — researchers at Stanford University have developed a virtual reality display system that can adjust to the eyes of the wearer. Whether longsighted or shortsighted, the new VR display is capable of personalizing what the wearer sees, and catering to their vision.

Despite age-old claims that sitting close to a screen can be bad for your eyes, virtual reality displays actually have a lot of advantages for users. The lenses in VR headsets are focused to infinity, so are arguably less strenuous on the eyes over long periods than looking at a phone or desktop display. Even so, they aren’t perfect and aren’t quite as easy to use for those who are short- or long-sighted. That’s where Stanford’s technology could come in.

The technology is called adaptive focus display and is currently undergoing trials with two different hardware solutions. The first uses liquid lenses that are controlled via a dial to adjust them for the user, while the second moves the display back and forth, closer to or farther away from the lenses.

More: The best VR headset you can buy

When combined with an eye-tracking camera within the headset, the software and hardware can react dynamically to focus on the part of the virtual world that the user is looking at. This can then blur the rest of the world to provide a natural depth of field and make it so that someone who has weak eyesight can wear a headset and see perfectly, without the need to wear corrective lenses.

There are downsides to the technology though. Moving the screen farther from the user would reduce their field of view, and unless the user is using a display that’s wider than the natural human field of view of almost 180 degrees, that would be noticeable. The system also cannot correct for astigmatism.

However, so far trials of the adaptive displays have been successful. At a trial last year where 173 participants between the ages of 21 and 64 were given a chance to try a headset using the new technology, many people found it improved the experience. Researchers did not however, provide hard numbers on how many people saw some benefit, or what impact it had on other aspects of the headset, such as its field of view.

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!
Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Nvidia’s new A.I. creates entire virtual cities by watching dash cam videos

Nvidia's groundbreaking new machine learning technology can generate a convincing virtual city simply by showing it car dashcam videos. Here's how it works and why that's so exciting.
Computing

Following the Portal, augmented reality glasses may be Facebook’s next step

Following the launch of its Portal smart display, Facebook says it is working on AR glasses, possibly in a move at challenging both Apple and Google and perhaps to rise up in the hardware scene. 
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Mobile

From the road to your wrist, see how Android has evolved over the past 10 years

Android started out as just a mobile operating system, but 10 years in it's pretty much everywhere. Check out our round-up of all the different Android variations that have cropped up so far, and what might be coming in the future.
Computing

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.
Mobile

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.
Gaming

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.