Facebook granted patent for human-eye level HMD

Facebook has won a patent for a head-mounted display (HMD) device combining a small high-resolution display with a large lower-resolution screen.

This headset incorporates eye tracking-driven foveated rendering, a process that involves rendering most of the view into a virtual world at lower resolution apart from the area directly in front of where the user’s eye is pointed.

The area in front of the eye, where a human eye perceives the greatest detail, is rendered at a higher resolution.

Unlike in most headsets, wherein the image is sent to just one display in every eye, the high-resolution area is instead sent to a second much smaller display called the ‘inset display’. This display is projected into the lens at the position of the eye through a steerable mirror and optical combiner.

In the virtual world, low-resolution parts that are not directly in front of the eyeball go to the main display and is magnified directly by the lens.

Facebook’s patent is similar to Finland-based Varjo’s current prototype, which also features an inset and background display. However, its high-resolution function is locked to the display’s centre in contrast to Facebook’s which adapts to the eye position.

Now, Varjo is aiming to develop a headset that would be very much like Facebook’s patent. Varjo has also been granted a patent for this method but Facebook applied for its patent before the Finnish firm. Interestingly, Varjo was granted the patent before Facebook.

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