It will explain more about Computer-Generated Holography and why it represents the future of AR wearables.
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Reality overtakes science fiction: Retina resolution holograms now possible
January 17, 2024
In a world-first, pioneering 3D deep-tech start-up VividQ shares images of real holograms projected through high-performance 4K display hardware. The ability to deliver ‘retina resolution’ computer-generated holograms means that next-generation VR headsets will be able to offer unparalleled levels of immersion and realism to users.
VividQ is using this major technology breakthrough to also announce two new commercial developments. The combination of these technical and commercial developments highlights that holography is no longer just something you find in a far-away galaxy but a core technology that is critical to the success of next-generation VR and AR experiences.
In popular culture — particularly Star Wars — holograms are depicted as grainy, single colour images. For years the state-of-the-art in holography was not much better. However, as can be seen from this first 4K image, it is now possible to render holograms with life-like resolution and vivid colour. This new milestone in image quality is vital in all manner of VR and MR applications, especially gaming, where the impact of holography will be first felt.
To highlight just how close this technology is to market, VividQ is announcing that these retina resolution holograms are displayed using a high-performance LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) display from JVCKENWOOD (JKC). This commercial partnership with world-renowned LCoS supplier JKC represents the first of today’s two commercial announcements and will see the two companies work closely to target a wide range of AR and VR applications.
In addition to a close partnership with LCoS manufacturer JKC, VividQ also announces that it is commercially engaged with a world-leading consumer electronics company to introduce holographic display technology into its future product roadmap. This commercial relationship represents a significant step in bringing holography to consumers.
Commenting on these major developments, VividQ’s CEO Darran Milne adds: “Just a few years ago, displaying dynamic and interactive content via holography was seen as pure science fiction fantasy. Then, more recently, it was seen as possible but only with poor image quality. Time and time again we’ve broken down the barriers between this revolutionary display technology and the real-world.” He continues, “By showing retina resolution holograms running on readily available components from JKC, and confirming that our technology is already commercially available, we are proving to the market that holographic display is not only feasible, it is inevitable.”
The view that holograms are an integral part of the future of consumer electronics isn’t just shared by VividQ. In September 2023, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted during the annual Connect developer conference that holograms will be commonplace in the near future. A point he continued to echo during his podcast interview with Lex Fridman when he said: “I think that there are going to be, not too far off, maybe by the end of this decade, we’ll be living in a world where there are as many holograms when you walk into a room as there are physical objects.”
Computer-generated holography improves the user experience of VR and MR in three principle ways: Firstly, holograms can be adjusted to compensate for the user's eyesight, enabling built-in prescription correction without glasses - reducing the bulk and weight of the headset. Secondly, consumers can dynamically switch their focus between digital objects at varying distances, reducing eye fatigue and enabling them to game for longer. And thirdly, consumers can bring objects up close and focus on them without suffering from vergence accommodation conflict (VAC), which can induce or facilitate negative side effects such as headaches, eye-strain, or nausea.
Alfred Newman, VividQ’s Head of Research adds: “Using the 4K LCoS from JKC we are now able to achieve acuity-limited retinal resolution holograms with full 3D focus and a large field of view. This enables a unique display which for the first time is capable of matching both the resolution and real-life focus cues expected by the eye, resulting in a more natural viewing experience than ever before.”
Yoshio Sonoda, CTO at JKC comments: “Holography will deliver a paradigm shift in consumer experiences, especially in a market like VR, where limitations in current technology are holding it back from delivering the kind of jaw-dropping experience that consumers want. We are really pleased to be partnering with VividQ and seeing our cutting edge LCoS displays be used to push the boundaries of VR and AR.”
Notes to editors
A brief explanation of how computer-generated holography (CGH) works:
Holograms are created by engineering light waves to render objects in 3D space. When we look at physical items in the real world, what we see is the light reflecting from their surface. With holography we are doing the same thing, it's just the light pathways are set by the software through interference patterns that are displayed on a spatial light modulator (SLM), such as an LCoS display. These 3D holographic objects can be easily placed at any distance within your focal range, including within arms’ reach, and users can naturally shift focus between them.
The definition of retina resolution
The term ‘retina resolution’ was first used by Apple who used it to highlight displays with a higher density of pixels. The term is now used generally in the industry to refer to a screen that offers a visual acuity limited display.
The best measure of pixel density is ‘pixel per degree’ (PPD) which takes into account the screen resolution and the distance from which the device is viewed. The highest resolution an adult with 20:20 vision can see is 60 PPD1.
For reference, an Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is 82.7 PPD1. The Meta Quest 3 is 25 PPD2. The Apple Vision Pro will offer between 34-39 PPD, according to influential display tech analyst Karl Guttag3.