Virtual reality headsets are advancing all the time, but none yet have managed to truly mimic seeing the natural world through human eyes. That may change, however, thanks to the work of startup Varjo – a team made up of ex-Nokia staff that thinks its cracked natural vision in VR.
It's working on a headset which it claims, according to The Verge (opens in new tab), has displays which offer 70 times the clarity of rival hardware. It's something Varjo is calling "human eye resolution."
But rather than just cramming in loads of extra pixels, Varjo is trying something a little bit different.
Two eyes, loads of screens
Varjo's headset will use multiple displays to mimic how the human eye interprets the world. In the center of your field of view will sit pixel-dense displays, within which individual pixels will be indistinguishable. But at the extreme edges of your field of view, they'll use lower-resolution displays.
With your brain focussing on the central area, it'll be tricked into thinking the clarity of the central screen is repeated wherever you look, with the fuzzier outer screens acting to replicate our peripheral vision.
Pair this with eye-tracking software that powers results similar to foveated rendering (something Oculus too is exploring), and you've the recipe for an efficient and visually-impressive headset.
The team still has the headset in the development stage, but is looking to launch with a few industry partners later this year. A consumer launch will follow in 2018, but Varjo warn to expect its headset to be priced at the top-end of the VR headset pricing scale – somewhere in the thousands of dollars range.
That high price tag may support a dual purpose though – Varjo is looking to allow the headset to work as an augmented reality device too, by equipping cameras to the outside of the device and relaying the video feedback in real-time to the internal displays.
An ambitious project then, and definitely one to watch.