Imagine the big game is on, and you’re watching your favorite team trounce its rival on a 122-inch screen that displays every detail. But the curved display is actually only a 32-inch model that, when you place your face near it, generates the illusion of a much more massive display. A new light-field display now seeks to create such an immersive panoramic virtual screen without goggles.
Immersive displays generally either involve giant screens à la IMAX, virtual reality (VR), or augmented reality (AR) headsets that place tiny screens and lenses close to a person’s eyes to simulate large screens that encompass most of a user’s field of view. Engaging as immersive displays are, electrical engineer Barmak Heshmat and his colleagues at an AR startup, “realized the bitter reality that people don’t want to wear headgear; it’s just too much friction to have something on your face. I think people can talk volumes about that, considering that now everyone has to wear masks.
“Just imagine wearing a 200-gram object on your face for 6.5 hours,” Heshmat says. “It is really exhausting, but 6.5 hours is the average time we spend in front of computers, easily, every day.”