With all the hype around Magic Leap's recent launch, it's easy to forget that augmented reality hardware is still very much in its infancy. While we marvel at what is available now, researchers are still finding ways to design and produce more sophisticated components for next-generation wearables.
For instance, a team of researchers from Nvidia Research and the University of North Carolina will present their latest innovations at SIGGRAPH 2018 in Vancouver next week.
Led by Nvidia researcher Kaan Aksit, the team has created near-eye foveated (multi-focal distance) displays the size of prescription eyeglass lenses that are manufactured through a 3D printing process.
The team's latest binocular prototype headset with the lenses will be on display at booth 196 for those in attendance. For those unable to make the trip, Aksit has previewed the team's innovations via video.
Aksit demonstrates how the lens is able to display content at various points of focus within the same field of view. He also shows off 3D printed diffusers with static patterns that, while perhaps not as practical for production, demonstrate the level of detail at which the process can operate.
While it's still just a prototype for now, the multi-focal capabilities would enable future headsets to display content more naturally for the eye at varying depths, while the manufacturing process results in a much thinner display, allowing for smaller form factors that would make current state of the art AR headsets look dated.