Stanford’s Advanced Technology To Achieve Realistic Results

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  • Virtual and augmented reality headsets are designed to place wearers directly into other environments, worlds, and experiences.
  • As Wetzstein explains it, researchers have been faced with the challenge of getting a holographic display to look as good as an LCD display.
  • Previously, scientists have attempted to create algorithms to address both of these problems.
  • Yifan Peng, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab, is using his interdisciplinary background in both optics and computer science to help design the optical engine to go into the holographic displays.

Virtual and augmented reality headsets are intended to immerse users in different worlds, environments, and experiences. While the technology is already popular with consumers because of its immersive quality, the holographic displays may become even more realistic in the future as reported by SciTech Daily.

The Stanford Computational Imaging Lab has combined their knowledge in optics and artificial intelligence in their search for improved displays.

Their most recent achievements in this field are outlined in a study published in Science Advances today (November 12, 2021) and work that will be presented at SIGGRAPH ASIA 2021 in December.

This study addresses the fact that current augmented and virtual reality displays only show 2D images to each viewer’s eyes, rather than 3D – or holographic – images as we see in the actual world.

“They’re not perceptually realistic,” Gordon Wetzstein, associate professor of electrical engineering and director of the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab, noted.

Wetzstein and his colleagues are working on ways to bridge the gap between simulation and reality while also generating more visually appealing and easier-to-understand displays.

Bridging simulation and reality

The visual quality of existing holographic displays has been limited for decades.

According to Wetzstein, the challenge for researchers has been to make a holographic display seem as nice as an LCD display.

Scientists have already attempted to develop algorithms to overcome each of these issues.

Wetzstein stated, “Artificial intelligence has transformed pretty much all sectors of engineering and beyond.” 

The researchers were able to create more realistic-looking pictures with higher colour, contrast, and clarity by developing an algorithm and calibration process that ran in real-time with the image shown.

The research published in Science Advances employs the same camera-in-the-loop optimization method, as well as an artificial intelligence-inspired algorithm, to create a better system for holographic displays that use partially coherent light sources such as LEDs and SLEDs.

Transformative potential

Wetzstein and Peng anticipate that in the future years, this combination of new artificial intelligence techniques and virtual and augmented reality will become more common in a variety of industries.

Wetzstein feels that augmented reality is the “huge future,” even if it won’t be for a few years.

Though augmented virtual reality is currently most closely linked with gaming, it and augmented reality have applications in a range of sectors, including medical.

Medical students can utilise augmented reality to train and overlay medical data from CT scans and MRIs directly on patients.

“We believe that smaller, lighter-weight, and more aesthetically pleasant head-worn displays will be a key part of the future of surgical planning.”

“Seeing how computation can increase display quality with the same hardware setup is quite interesting,” said Jonghyun Kim, a visiting scholar from Nvidia and co-author of both articles. 

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Source: SciTech Daily

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