While Nvidia is a respected name in certain tech circles, particularly the field of graphics technology, its presence in wearable technology so far has been a bit on the light side. But that's about to change according to recent reports that suggest that the research arm of Nvidia is hard at work taking Nvidia's skill in graphics presentation and bringing that skill to wearable technology.
More specifically, what Nvidia is said to be working on is a near-eye light field display system. Nvidia is currently showing a proof of concept design out at Siggraph for the system, which is said to allow for head-mounted displays of surprisingly light weight to present a variety of images, complete with “accommodation, convergence, and binocular disparity depth cues,” according to the reports. Based on the early reports about the concept design, and the research that went into the development of same, it's being suggested that Nvidia could well be readying its own Google (News - Alert) Glass competitor.
The device in question is said to be comprised of a head-mounted display (HMD) using off-the-shelf parts with a bit of modification, backed up by a set of light field renderers taking a little extra support from the GPU that offers up ray tracing and a kind of backward-compatibility system that allows for current stereoscopic content to be seen. As for the construction, it features a pair of organic light emitting diode (OLED) display panels, each roughly the size of a quarter and covered in an array of micro-lenses. This allows the display to offer up the previously noted thin size and lightweight quality, and the necessary driver electronics are suggested to be included in what may ultimately be a waist-mounted “black box”, with OLED ribbon cables to connect the two.
The system can currently be seen at Siggraph in the Emerging Technologies pavilion, and will likely be back for a technical brief at Siggraph Asia. But in the meantime, the Nvidia HMD is raising some exciting questions. While it's not yet known just when these will start hitting shelves, it's clear that Nvidia's got something to talk about here. It may be that these could be the ultimate solution to the question of big televisions in small rooms, something that head-mounted displays have long been trying to accomplish by presenting what looks like a very large image very close to the head. Adding external cameras may well turn these into Google Glass competitors by easily allowing the viewer to see outward.
For all things wearable tech, check out the Wearable Tech Expo, which concludes July 25, 2013 at the Kimmel Center in New York City.
There are plenty of possibilities associated with Nvidia's new HMD, a piece of wearable technology that could pose some exciting new applications in the field, and even give competitors a run for the proverbial money, especially once some refinements have taken place to get this out of the prototype stage. It's going to be exciting to see just what Nvidia can do with this system, and when said system will finally arrive for users to try out.
Edited by Ryan Sartor
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