Augmented Reality is more than Virtual Reality


Let's shortly recapitulate some basics of stereo viewing and display.

One problem with the conventional stereoscopy methods described so far, is that the viewer must literally have his head fixed in a screw mount in order to see the picture correctly.
The graphic shows a typical assembly with stereo cameras, a CRT display with a light shutter in front, and the viewer wearing shutter glasses. For a correct reproduction, display size and distance cannot be varied, zooming is almost impossible without very disturbing false perspectives, etc. Everything is defined by the recording equipment, once and for all.

Any deviation from the right position and distance causes errors, and sideways tilting of the head has catastrophic effects, e.g. it's absolutely impossible to watch stereo TV lying on a couch (one would have to move one eye up and one down; try this).

How could anybody ever have thought this could work anywhere anytime anyhow ?

And that's not all: an always present distraction is false focus, e.g. the viewer for example looks to infinity according to eye parallax, but has to accommodate to a screen only 6 ft away.

This hurts. In a cinema where everybody is sitting upright and focus is near infinity it may work, but for TV it's not an option. The task is simply not possible to accomplish without very advanced recording, image processing and display technologies.

Screens for example that deliver many individual perspectives to different viewers, time sequentially, maybe even with an holographic approach like the SeeReal display that has just recently been presented as a first prototype. A very demanding and expensive technology of course that will take a long time to become affordable.

The best solution in sight so far are advanced display glasses dynamically generating perspective correct images according to the user's head position and movements.



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