The US Patent and Trademark Office has published a patent application from Apple. The patent deals with devices, systems, and methods for the stereoscopic 360-degree rendering of a 3D object. According to the patent, the technology will help eliminate Eye Strain or Nausea while using VR headsets by creating smoother CGI scenes.
It is a well-documented fact that VR causes motion sickness, nausea, sweating, dizziness and vomiting symptoms. When we are using VR our body is still, but we are moving in the virtual world. The visual mismatch causes severe feelings of discomfort. In fact, VR manufacturers recommend that you take off the equipment once every 30 minutes or take it off immediately if you feel discomfort seeking in.
The mismatch of motion between the virtual environment and the real world causes problems. The greater the degree of mismatch, the worse is the sickness.
Apple’s Solution: Stereoscopic Rendering of Virtual 3D Objects
Apple’s latest inventions talk about rendering 3D objects stereoscopically for equirectangular video. This can be achieved by creating equirectangular projections for each of the left eye and the right eye viewpoints. Furthermore, it is helpful to enable fast rendering of a stereoscopic ‘camera pair’ for all possible view orientation in the scene.
VR is typically formatted in a 2:1 aspect ratio rectangle using equirectangular projections and the final product is stored as a video file. However, in stereoscopic 360-degree VR, the video contains two equirectangular projections for each frame. This is based on the horizontal shift of parallax points in a scene.
The method of stereoscopic 360-degree rendering of a three-dimensional (3D) object can be performed across multiple devices like mobile, desktop, and laptop. That being said, the results achieved with this method are not seamless and the renders plus the stick phases are processor intensive. Apple’s patent application 20190180504 was originally filed in 2018 and was published today.
VR Motion sickness and discomfort is very real. Several game design techniques have been added to minimize the effects of VR sickness. However, the problem looms large as the brain struggles to make sense of the horizon like that is out of sync with the fluid in one’s inner ears.
If Apple’s new technology manages to eliminate nausea, then this would be a great breakthrough in the world of virtual reality. That being said, they still need to work on a prototype and address the bottlenecks related to Stereoscopic Rendering of Virtual 3D objects.