Intel is researching curved VR lenses with a 180 degree FOV

Just read this, interesting especially that Intel is looking @ PiMaxes



That’s awesome. I have a friend who interned for a wearable division at Intel - kinda hard to imagine them as anything but a CPU manufacturer but all of their divisions are cutting edge. It will be exciting to see what comes of this.


Interesting Article indeed. Though there info is off as the pimax headsets cap out at 160 wide.


Intel has been exploring for awhile. See Project Alloy i think it was called.


thx for posting @MReis , some cool stuff!
adding link to the official page (english), including some explaination videos


Translated from article…

Compared to a Pimax 5k +, which also has a field of view of up to around 180 degrees, the Intel prototype is only about half the size.

Saying nothing about weight, which is the real problem.


Weight imagine would be equal or greater than pimax. With weighing more being likely.


Sounds interesting but I guess it’s a long way away before it’s a viable product, or will have very different uses in its current form. Two major obstacles to overcome (from the translation):

“The micro lens approach reduces the display resolution of the prototype by around 65 percent.”

“The lens view…for sharp, undistorted vision is even narrower than with current VR glasses. Disturbing effects are emphasized by the many small lenses. In addition, the current design is unsuitable for people who wear glasses.”

So the prototype has massively reduced res plus a narrow FOV area without distortions, effectively the opposite spec to what we’re after. The benefit however, is a more compact size.


The extent to which Pimax has successfully managed chromatic abberation with sub-pixel accuracy is the only reason I have any expectation of success from these micro-lens techniques.

Really, it would be great to get a bunch of static optical mockups, for defect evaluation. Like using true 2400x2400dpi (10.5micron pixel) prints with basic LEDs and various lenses as proof-of-concept.

A maskless lithography system could be built specifically for static prototyping VR headsets…


Only downside I see atm is the article I think mentions a loss of 60% resolution with the micro lenses if I read correctly.


As Octofox quoted…

The lens view…for sharp, undistorted vision is even narrower than with current VR glasses.

That is another very serious downside.

Intuitively, I think we should be very skeptical of artifacts at the micro lens boundaries. With Fresnel lenses, at least the individual elements are part of the same overall optical aperture, and are largest at the center. I can imagine many ways this could be much, much worse.

What I think we should really want a large company like Intel to do is determine the best possible technology achievable with near-current semiconductor fabrication through static mockups, then go build it.


Make that 3. Current graphic apps expect a flat rectangular viewport (rendering destination). Many games don’t even support angled viewports, which requires us to use Parallel Projection. To support those curved screens in the prototype would require lots of narrow rectangular viewports, each with a different angle, or a curved (cylindrical) viewport (less likely).

To support a front-facing flat viewport (like Parallel Projection uses) of 180 horizontal degrees (not diagonal) would require an infinitely wide viewport. The photo sure looks like Intel is aiming for a 180° horizonal view.


This is precisely why frameworks like SteamVR and OpenXR are inherently limiting. There are only three major graphics engines (including derivatives) as it is (Unity, Unreal, CryEngine). A de-facto common ‘camera’/framebuffer plugin format for these would be far more appropriate.


With OpenXR we are likely to see these things come. As Oculus is also apart of this consortium and typically Oculus ran titles often don’t require PP compared to ones using Steam’s OpenVR. It seems Oculus was planning ahead more than Valve. Where Valve seems to have only stitched support in.

While I know many are at odds with Oculus’ more closed platform and FB ties. There are things on both platforms that would benefit the other.


I’m glad companies like Intel are researching tech like this. We need more companies researching wide FOV and new VR tech innovations.


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