Here’s Oculus’ Latest Varifocal Headset Prototype

by Jamie Feltham • May 22nd, 2018

Facebook Reality Labs, the new name for what was previously Oculus Research, is at Display Week 2018 today talking about its latest work in VR optics. During his talk this morning, the team’s Douglas Lanman showcased the company’s latest prototype to utilize varifocal displays.

A varifocal display alters the focus to match the way your eyes see in the real world, offering a more comfortable experience. Lanman revealed that Oculus had been working with the tech for three and a half years now, producing a number of prototypes in that time. The first, seen in the video below, was functional, but the moving displays created a lot of noise that would be distracting in VR.

Moving on, the next video showcases the third prototype to incorporate this design, which Lanman described as having everything “dialed to 11”, with eye-tracking “better than anything you’d ever expect” and displays moving “faster than the human eye.”

The final video shows that same prototype running without its shell. Lanman described it has “nearly vibration-free, nearly silent”, suggesting Oculus is closing in on perfecting the design.

These aren’t the only exciting prototypes we’ve seen from Facebook and Oculus in recent weeks. Back at F8, the pair teased another high-end device with a 140-degree field of view though, at the same time, noted we wouldn’t see these advances in a consumer product anytime soon. The same is likely true of the work Lanman showcased today, but it’s a tantalizing glimpse at the future of VR nonetheless.

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