The Slightly Terrifying Alternative To Oculus Rift

The Slightly Terrifying Alternative To Oculus Rift

The first thing I thought when I saw these was, hey, they look like the visors from the Final Fantasy movie. Then I sighed. The second thing I thought was, hey, these sound way cooler than the Oculus Rift.

Not that they will be, but upon reveal in this CNET hands-on, the tech running them certainly is different.

These specs are called the Virtual Retinal Display, and where they differ from stuff like the Oculus is that instead of simply sticking a pair of monitors really close to your eyes, they actually beam light onto your eyeballs in an attempt to mimic the way our eyes naturally perceive images.

Which sounds slightly terrifying, an impression not helped by prototype headgear, but the CNET reviewer here — who has a voice you could pour onto pancakes — seems pretty impressed.

The company behind it, Avegant, hopes to have a more consumer-friendly prototype ready by early 2014.

Avegant's Virtual Retinal Display prototype takes Oculus Rift-style immersion to the next level [CNET, via technabob]


    Interesting. Wonder what kind of price bracket this one's gonna sit in.

    wouldnt this damage your retina?

      you'd think so however so long as the beams weren't too strong then it wouldn't be any different from regular light hitting them.


        Well that's just how we see things and perceive colour. All images that we see in our day to day lives is just the light from the sun (or some other source) reflecting off objects and into our eyes. Obviously there is more to it than that but effectively our eyes are constantly bombarded with light to allow us to see, if it gets too intense (ie look at the sun) it will do damage and feel uncomfortable, but very low powered lighting will not cause any damage.

    So this will be available sometime during my lifetime?

    Nvidia is working on a HMD as well, lots of rift competition on the horizon.

    I wonder if you could reverse engineer them to project to other people, you could alter how they see you Laughing man from Ghost in the Shell style. Imagine a billboard that is actually just a tiny projector beaming adds.
    ........Patent pending........:P

    Hmmm. . . and what happens if I move my eye balls to the left?
    At least the Rift I can look around the screen in front of my eyes.

      That's a good point. I wonder if they can integrate eye tracking into it to let you move your eyes.

      That's the thing I'm most curious about, what happens when your eyes move around. I remember John Carmack talking about experimenting with this kind of direct retinal projection, and finding the problem of the image just disappearing if you weren't looking straight down the barrel. Although he did experiment with a low-powered laser, which these guys apparently aren't using.

      That's a good question, perhaps they could (or do) have part of the projection outside of your pupil (so perhaps its also being projected onto your iris or even the white of your eye) so that when you turn your eyes you then start to see the projection area that was outside the pupil area initially. Rather than the light being beamed at a straight angle into your eye it could perhaps be more of a conical projection.

    this is amazing, i love how other companies are working on stuff like this too, it should help push them to improve on the Oculus Rift even more!

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