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What is Oculus’ Half Dome?

What is Oculus’ Half Dome?

Earlier this week Facebook held their annual F8 conference, one of the flagship announcements being the launch of Oculus GO, an all in one VR platform. But for two short minutes, Maria Fernandez Guajardo of Oculus talked briefly about what they’ve been up too behind the scenes with their latest prototype ‘Half Dome’.

Half Dome looks to widen the users field of view from the standard ~100° too and improved ~140° (field of view changes based on distance between the lens and the eye, so this number varies between users) but more impressively, Half Dome is the first Oculus prototype to implement the varifocal technology.

Varifocal means the ability to focus on an infinite number of distances, near, far, close, infinity. Where existing HMD’s typically pull focus at a 2-metre distance, Half Dome achieves Varifocal by dynamically moving the displays within the HMD towards and away from the users, focusing the display on various objects in the scene much more realistically.

In the presentation, Guajardo states the system makes changes in focal depth “Depending on what you’re looking at”, but fails to clarify whether this is software driven, or if they have used eye-tracking technology, which would be a huge feature for a top end HMD to implement with many added benefits.

Picking up a book in VR and bringing it close to your face to read in existing devices would result in an out of focus image, Half Dome adjusts the focal distance to match the book in front of you, bringing the book into a sharp focus.
Check out the demonstration video from F8 below;

As this technology is a hardware advancement, it could most likely be backwards compatible with existing VR experiences. It’s exciting to see these technologies already in a working state, next-generation VR headsets are going to boast some serious tech in the coming years.

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