Reality Labs will show two new prototypes at SIGGRAPH 2023

Reality Labs will show two new prototypes at SIGGRAPH 2023

The Reality Labs display systems research team will show at SIGGRAPH 2023 two new prototypes of viewfinders that will allow the attendees to experience several new technologies in action: the varifocal with great resolution, and the passthrough using light fields.

Butterscotch Varifocal

The first of these is the Varifocal Butterscotch, which combines the variable focus technology of the Half Dome series with retinal resolution technology that they showed last year (at that time called just Butterscotch).

As we see in the previous video, the device uses motors to move the screens and determines where we look thanks to eye tracking, which together allows us to focus at different distances, managing for example to see a nearby object clearly.

“The aim of this research is to demonstrate a VR display system that provides visual clarity capable of matching the capabilities of the human eye. Retinal resolution means that the viewfinder can provide sharp details that approach the limit of what human eyes can perceive. In addition, a varifocal display supports the range of accommodation that human eyes have so that high resolution can be perceived at different focal depths,” explains optical scientist Yang Zhao.

Butterscotch Varifocal provides 60 ppd for 20/20 vision, uses LCD screens, achieves a 50-degree FOV and features a longer design than consumer viewfinders.


The second one is Flamera, which it has a computational camera that uses light field technology to offer passthrough without reprojection. This means that the Light Field Passthrough does not have to reproject the image captured by the viewfinder cameras to the correct position of the user’s eyes, a technique that can introduce visual artifacts.

The front camera of passthrough by light fields is designed to capture only the relevant fields and create a depth-dependent reconstruction, which ultimately pursues a more realistic passthrough, with fewer artifacts.

“The optical design of Flamera works best when the viewfinder is thin, which allows us to place the cameras for the passthrough as close to the user’s eyes as possible. However, the camera sensor we used had a lot of electronic components that made the viewfinders much thicker, so we had to design custom flexors to set those components aside. Overall, it was an exciting challenge to move from the concept of the passthrough with light fields to a complete and functional viewfinder,” explains scientist Grace Kuo.

As usually happens in these cases, Meta points out that both devices are in the research phase, so it is possible that the technologies they are investigating will never become a product for consumers, or at least in the short term. We can delve more into these prototypes in this Meta blog post.

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