The world's first mixed-reality (MR) device with human-eye resolution support is now being created by Finnish startup Varjo Technologies, in a bid to fundamentally change the way the world sees VR and AR. According to the company, its competition is currently only capable of accomplishing around one-hundredth of that resolution. If the figures add up to match up with current understanding of the human eye, however, its own headsets could be capable of accomplishing the equivalent of around 576-megapixels. In effect, that will allow users to see whatever is being displayed on the screens of the headset with the same clarity and detail they would by looking at the scene in real life. Created in partnership with aerospace, vehicle, and entertainment firms, the company plans to begin production on its headset in late 2018. Meanwhile, developer kits are already available via the official website.
The resolution itself is achievable thanks to the company taking advantage of how the human eye actually works. Instead of attempting to create an entire VR display at that level of detail, the company focused its efforts on a trait called foveation. The human eye does not see at the above-listed level of detail at all times and across the entire field of view. Instead, the eye can only detect high resolution a grand total of two degrees in any direction from the center of vision. The remaining 180-degrees generally become more blurry as the distance from that point increases. The current prototype follows that with a super-high resolution micro OLED display fixed at the center of the headset's focal point and standard display surrounding that. Development is already underway on methods to utilize eye tracking to follow eye movement as well, adjusting where that focal point is in real-time just as would be the case in the real world.
Since the resolution of human vision also changes with lighting and due to other environmental factors, Varjo's solution certainly isn't perfect. However, the technology goes beyond anything currently on offer from those other companies, as demonstrated by the comparison images the company has shown. The estimated ranges associated with pricing, meanwhile, match that. Although that's nowhere near settled, the range is expected to start between $5,000 and $10,000. Prices should come down as demand for increasingly powerful augmented and virtual experiences goes up.