Nvidia Uses Holograms To Shrink The Size Of VR Headsets

Hologram technology can greatly improve pixel details in VR.

One of the biggest barriers to getting more people into VR headsets is the headsets themselves. They can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear because of the technical requirements involved, such as display optics, cameras, and sensors.

The lenses can also have a major impact on the size and shape of typical VR headsets, such as those featured on the Meta Quest or HTC Vive. They use an eyepiece and a display panel that needs to be a specific distance from each other in order for you to have a fully immersive VR experience. One solution to reducing the size of a VR headset is by using pancake lenses to shrink the gap between the lenses. That said, this design and approach can only deliver a 2D experience.

Nvidia has solved this problem by using holograms to help overcome the issue of the necessary space needed between the eyepiece and display panel, creating a much thinner solution to accessing VR content.

A recently published report written by Jonghyun Kim, Manu Gopakumar (Stanford University), Suyeon Choi (Stanford University), Yifan Peng (Stanford University), Ward Lopes, and Gordon Wetzstein (Stanford University) takes an incredibly deep and detailed dive into Nvidia’s Hologram Glasses and explains how they work as well as the potential impact they could have on the future of VR technology.

To help you digest this relatively complex information, we’re going to break it down for you without getting overly technical.

Basically, by placing a hologram image (Virtual-mode Holographic display) between the eyepiece and a Geometric phase lens, Nvidia was able to reduce the gap between the two lenses, thus reducing the size of the headset, using a process called a pupil-replicating waveguide.

The results are Holographic Glasses designed for VR that can deliver digital content in 2D or 3D VR content to each eye. The device is composed of a pupil-replicating waveguide, a spatial light modulator, and a geometric phase lens that come together to create amazing holographic images in a lightweight and thin form factor.

Nvidia’s Holographic Glasses provide a diagonal field of view of 22.8°, a 2.3 mm static and 8 mm dynamic eye box, and support 3D focus cues. Not only are they less bulky, but they are also very lightweight, weighing in at just a tad over 2 ounces. The proposed design can even deliver full-color 3D holographic images using an optical stack of 2.5 mm thickness.

Through a process called Dynamic eye box with waveguide, the Hologram Glasses are able to follow your gaze and move the viewpoint of the content you are looking at. And thanks to the use of HOGD (High-order gradient descent), you are able to see it with better image quality in higher contrast than SGD (Stochastic gradient descent). What I’m trying to say is that this allows you to see pixels in more detail.

Nvidia’s Hologram Glasses are still in a prototype phase but the company is already looking forward to what their technology can do for the future of VR. Not only could have a major impact on consumer VR and everyday wearables, but it could transform how VR and AR are used for Enterprise solutions, digital twinning, automobiles, homes, aerospace, and more. 

Click here to learn more about Nvidia’s Hologram Glasses and dive into that detailed paper. 

Image Credit: Nvidia

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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