Meta Research proposes a high-brightness HDR key for future virtual reality

Meta research suggests that VR’s most transformative gains in telepresence and visual realism may come from advances in screen brightness and dynamic range.

talking on Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth PodcastThe company’s head of display systems research spoke about the huge gap in brightness between the 100 nits offered by the market-leading Quest 2 headset Meta and the more than 20,000 nits in the Starburst research prototype. The latter can match bright indoor lighting while far exceeding today’s top-performing HDR TVs, which higher at about 1000 lumens.

Douglas Lanman, Meta premiere researcher, referred to this gap as “what we want most, but can’t deliver right now.” The prototype is quite heavy at 5 to 6 pounds with heat sinks, a powerful light source and optics, which comfortably require the Starburst to be hung from the top and held face up by the handles. While we know that Sony It will bring PlayStation VR 2 HDR screen For first-time VR consumers, its exact brightness and dynamic range are unknown.

“You mentioned that you kind of feel your eye responding to it in a certain way,” Meta research scientist Nathan Matsuda told Tested Norman Chan when he tried Starburst. “We know there’s a variety of perceptual cues that you get from this extended illuminator, and part of that is due to the work that’s been done making displays for televisions and cinemas, but of course when you have a more extensive display like this where you have a field of view wide, binocular perspective etc. We don’t know if the sensory responses are actually mapping directly from previous work done with televisions so one of the reasons we created this to begin with is so we can start to unearth where those differences are , where the thresholds might be where you start to feel like you’re looking at a real light rather than an image of light, which will eventually lead us to be able to build devices that creators can then produce content that uses that full range.”

For those who missed it, Meta provided an unprecedented look at its prototype for VR headset research this week paired with the announcement of a goal to pass “Optical Turing TestPassing the test could mean making a VR headset with visuals that are indistinguishable from reality. On Bosworth podcast, Boz to the FutureLanman explained the challenges in developing virtual reality screens towards this goal in four ways – PrecisionAnd the diversified focusdistortion correction, and HDR – with the latter described as perhaps the most difficult to fully achieve.


In this [Starburst] The prototypes we created, you look at the sunset… and if we want to talk about existence, you feel like you’re there. You are on Maui, looking at the sun setting and putting the hair on your neck up.

So that’s what we want most, but we can’t deliver right now. What we are in is just doing studies to determine what might work? How can we change the rendering engine? How can we change the optics and screens to give us this? But High Dynamic Range, this is the fourth, and probably the king of them all.

The Star Burst Modelpictured below, shows an implementation of ultra-bright visuals in high dynamic range (HDR) VR, which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described as “It is arguably the most important dimension of all.”

While Starbust’s brightness greatly improves the sense of presence and realism, the current prototype would be “pretty impractical” to ship it as a product, Zuckerberg said. If you haven’t covered it yet, we highly recommend taking the time to watch the full test video above as well as listen to the podcast with Lanman and Bosworth embedded below. As Meta’s chief technology officer said, prototyping “gives you The ability to think ahead, which is very useful because it allows us to focus.”

We’ve also reached out via direct message to Norman Chan in Tested because his exclusive look at hardware prototypes, and the comment he made to Zuckerberg that Starbust was “the demo I didn’t want to launch,” suggests HDR is likely a critical area for improving HMDs in the future. where is the gap between the angular resolution of Quest 2 and the “grid” resolution of Butterscotch Model is 3x, and the gap between Starburst and Quest 2’s brightness is roughly 200x, which means there’s a larger gap in brightness and dynamic range that must be crossed before it can match “pretty much any indoor environment,” Lanman said of Starburst.

“The qualitative benefits of HDR were astounding in the Starburst prototype demo I tried, even though the headset screen was far from retina resolution,” Chan wrote to Elena. “Reaching close to 20,000 nits in a consumer headphone is going to be a huge technical challenge, but I can see incremental improvements in lighting through efficiencies in display panel transmittance. What I’m excited about is that producing HDR images isn’t computationally taxing — there’s a lot of media out there. The current ones with built-in HDR metadata that will benefit HDR VR headsets. I can’t wait to replay some of my favorite VR games that have been remastered for HDR!”

UploadVR news writer Harry Baker contributed to this report.