A slew of virtual reality (VR) products are on display at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, including LG’s VR headset for the new G5 smartphone. Meanwhile, Samsung set up an entire theater dedicated to VR outside Plaza Catalunya in central Barcelona, Spain.
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who made a surprise appearance at Samsung’s MWC press conference earlier this week, VR could be “the most social platform” of the future.
Image Credit: Via Nicolas Debock (@ndebock)
“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person,” Zuckerberg explained in a statement quoted by USA Today. “Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theater with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want.”
Paul Karazuba, a Director of Product Marketing at Rambus, confirmed that VR platforms and related technology have taken center stage at MWC 2016.
“In addition to VR tech showcased by Samsung, LG, HTC and Alcatel, Zeiss demoed an eyeglass lens with an integrated display augmented reality (AR) glasses, while Eye Tribe showcased a modded Samsung Gear VR headset with eye tracking,” Karazuba told us during an interview on the sidelines of the show. “Our lensless smart sensor (LSS) technology is also part of this burgeoning trend.”
According to Karazuba, Rambus LSS tech may very well help power versatile sensor clusters in next generation eye-tracking platforms and head-mounted displays (HMDs).
“LSS is capable of optimizing future eye-tracking hardware and HMDs via a combination of better industrial design and lower power requirements. More specifically, LSS can be mounted much closer to the eye than cameras,” he explained. “In addition, LSS-enabled Purkinje eye tracking, which employs fewer pixels than a focusing system, is actually more accurate than a camera with a traditional lens.”
As Karazuba notes, VR goggles equipped with eye-tracking capabilities – such as those offered by LSS – are able to reduce computational requirements for rendering a specific scene. In addition, LSS can also be used to track head-motion with external LEDs.
“Eye tracking capabilities are not yet included on many VR systems currently on the market,” he added. “Simply put, cameras are too big and too power hungry. Lensless smart sensors address both of these issues head on.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, LSS technology offers a fundamentally new approach to imaging that shifts the function of traditional optics to computation and eliminates the need for expensive lenses by replacing them with tiny inexpensive diffractive gratings.
The gratings, combined with optimized algorithms and off-the-shelf thermal or visible sensors, perform a wide range of functions, such as gesture recognition, eye tracking, object identification and depth sensing. Over the past year, Rambus’ Partners-in-Open-Development (POD) program has enabled a number of design and technology companies to implement and accelerate the development of LSS for new use cases.