Holographic optics and laser light: Facebook creates virtual reality glasses the size of sunglasses


The American company reports the creation of a prototype of virtual reality glasses the size of ordinary sunglasses. A holographic optic works the reduction of size, while the laser technology guarantees an optimal quality in the perception of colors. The thickness does not exceed 9 millimeters.Everyone relates Facebook’s business to its social network and somewhat less to applications such as WhatsApp or Instagram, over which it exercises full control. But Mark Zuckerberg’s company also cultivates fields like artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, Facebook is also dedicated to developing virtual reality technology thanks to Oculus, another American company it owns. Well, after discontinuing the Oculus Go virtual reality devices, the Zuckerberg company decided to bet on a more comprehensive approach to this technology and part with its cheapest product in this field. However, it has surprised the speed with which Facebook has maneuvered, since it has just presented a revolutionary prototype of virtual reality glasses. These types of gadgets are usually associated with a bulky size, precisely the feature that Facebook claims to be working on. The result is a significant reduction in volume, similar to that of ordinary sunglasses. And how has size been reduced? According to Andrew Maimone and Junren Wang, the project engineers, a new design for holographic optics has been used, which combines various layers of holographic film and an optical fold based on the phenomenon of light polarization. As a result, the thickness of the glasses is barely 9 millimeters. In particular, the thickest element, which is the lens, has been replaced by another special lens made up of several layers that reflects light in a smaller space before sending it to the eye. Other elements, such as the LCD screen, were not a stumbling block, as it is already quite fine in itself. And to the reduction of the size it is possible to add an improvement of the image quality, because the chromatic range (gamut) that it represents is much more varied thanks to the use of laser technology. However, unlike LED panels, this technology is more difficult to integrate into the glasses. And it also increases its production cost. “Holographic optics force the use of laser light sources, which offer a much richer color gamut than usual LEDs in almost all virtual reality devices, such as headsets, phones, computers and televisions,” say Facebook researchers. At the moment, a prototype The results have only been reported with a scale model, but larger than what is really intended. In other words, it is necessary to miniaturize the elements and continue to maintain identical results. And despite everything, on Facebook they assure that the prototype is already thinner than any other virtual glasses created to date. The work presented points to the future development of a more comfortable and lightweight virtual reality technology. “This is only an investigation, although the technical report identifies the limitations of the proposed visualization architecture and its discussion will provide a more practical approach to the issue,” they conclude.