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Graphics Displays Intel

Smart Rendering For Virtual Reality 25

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Intel have been working on new methods for improving the rendering speed for modern wide-angle head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. Their approach makes use of the fact that because of the relatively cheap and lightweight lenses the distortion astigmatism happens: only the center area can be perceived very sharp, while with increasing distance from it, the perception gets more and more blurred. So what happens if you don't spend the same amount of calculations and quality for all pixels? The blog entry gives hints to future rendering architectures and shows performance numbers.
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Smart Rendering For Virtual Reality

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    instead of your head?

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      The experience would be less than ideal.

      Future iterations that have better lens quality and higher field of view could make use of eye tracking to determine what location of the viewable area should be rendered optimally.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @01:18PM (#49095271) Homepage Journal

      Eye tracking isn't all that hard to do. I worked in a lab way back in the early 80s that did it with couple of phototransistors and an IR light source to measure corneal reflections.

      • The problem is how human eyes move. We dart them quickly and unpredictably about. I think re-rendering as the user moves her eyes will take as much processing power as just rendering it all.
        • The problem is how human eyes move. We dart them quickly and unpredictably about.

          You are wildly underestimating the speed of modern GPUs. They can easily generate a scene in less time than your eye can perceive it, especially if all the polygons are preloaded into graphic memory. All you have to do is run the polygons through the shaders, which are massively parallel, typically 1024 cores.

      • Eye tracking with high latency is not hard... now please do it accurately in under 10ms, 90 times a second, so that the rendering pipeline can use that in the next frame.

        A lot of 'solved' tasks become a lot harder under the constraints imposed by VR's need for speed.

    • by smaddox ( 928261 )

      Which is why the current crop of displays won't last long, if VR really catches on. Magic Leap is already well on the way to developing consumer-level retinal displays. I'm pretty sure Oculus and Apple are working on their own; other companies likely are, as well. There are some significant challenges, particularly with making it economical, but nothing insurmountable. Advances in MEMS and fiber-coupled diode lasers will play a critical role. I expect to see consumer-ready, variable-focus retinal displays i

  • So it's reinventing quantum physics: it's fuzzy until you look at it more carefully. P.S. don't look at cats.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      So it's reinventing quantum physics: it's fuzzy until you look at it more carefully. P.S. don't look at cats.

      He's not kidding. I looked at my cat through VR glasses and saw this [all-that-i...esting.com].

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @02:07PM (#49095549) Homepage

    According to the linked Wikipedia page:

    An optical system with astigmatism is one where rays that propagate in two perpendicular planes have different focus.

    What the article seems to be about, though, is the way images as viewed in a VR headset get blurrier as you move away from the center, seemingly equally in all directions.

    • What the article seems to be about, though, is the way images as viewed in a VR headset get blurrier as you move away from the center, seemingly equally in all directions.

      What you're missing is that astigmatism tends to get worse as you move off-axis and astigmatism causes blurring and other similar effects. Thus, more blur at the edges of the field than in the centre. You can correct for this, but it involves a lot heavy and expensive glass.

      • I got that, I just don't see that it fits the definition of astigmatism. It sounds a lot more like spherical aberration [wikipedia.org].

        • Astigmatism can behave like this. I do a little astronomy and I've seen cheaper wide-field eyepieces introduce astigmatism in the outer portions of the field (even if the objective is known to be good). The centre is good, though. You know it's astigmatism because stars turn into shapes such as crosses. Spherical aberation in the objective, on the other hand, decreases contrast throughout the field of view.
  • Apple will soon put a stop to their innovation! Hurray for patents!
  • If there is a optical problem, why not solve it rather than trying to get software to (maybe) compensate and eat up battery life?

    Just design aspheric lenses specifically for the headsets. Yes, the injection molds might be a bit more complex, but I believe these have to be CNC anyways. A bit more setup, but no production cost increase.

  • Regardless of lens quality, "foveated rendering" is useful for reducing rendering complexity of stuff in your peripheral vision you don't really see. But I think VR/AR Is hitting the wall with how good you can make LCD screens smashed up against your eyes look. Virtual Retina Displays seem MUCH sharper to me. Tried an Avegant Glyph awhile back and the detail was pretty great. It's super frustrating in Oculus to not be able to read text unless you move your head so that it's positioned in the center of the
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