Strap a virtual reality headset to your face and you can be transported to faraway or fantastical places, play interactive games, or explore 360-degree videos. But the realism is a bit tempered by today’s display technology: your field of view is more limited in VR than in the real world, and sometimes it can feel like you’re looking at the “virtual” world through a screen door, since you can actually see the lines between pixels.

But display makers have been working on pixel-dense displays that will alleviate some of those issues, and Google and LG have unveiled a new system that comes the closest yet to approximating what you see in the real world.

It’s still not quite there yet though.

As promised earlier this year, Google and LG have released details about a new 4.3 inch OLED display with 1,443 pixels per inch and a 120 Hz refresh rate.

One of the most interesting things in the team’s research paper is the estimation that in order for a VR display to really mimic what a typical person would see in the real world, you’d need a field of view of about 160 degrees horizontally by 150 degrees vertically per eye, as well as display with 2,183 pixels per inch (or a resolution of about 9,600 x 9,000 per eye).

By that standard, the Google & LG display still has a long way to go. It has a 120 degree x 96 degree field of view and shows 4,800 x 3,840 pixels per eye (or 9,600 x 4800px total). But it still comes closer than any existing display I’m aware of.

The HTC Vive Pro, for example, shows 615 pixels per inch (1440 x 1600 pixels per eye), and that’s one of the higher-resolution VR headsets on the market today.

SpecificationHuman Visual SystemLG & Google system
Pixel count (h × v)9600 × 90004800 × 3840
Acuity (ppd)6040
Pixels per inch (ppi)21831443
Pixel pitch (µm)11.617.6
FoV (°, h × v)160 × 150120 × 96

Of course, it would take a lot of processing power to render that many pixels smoothly all the time, but the research paper also mentions that eye tracking technology could be used for foveated rendering, which would basically allow a device to focus most heavily just on the pixels you’re looking at rather than the ones at the periphery of your vision. Even without eye-tracking, some pixels would be rendered in higher acuity than others.

Size (diagonal)4.3″
Subpixel count3840 × 2 (either RG or BG) × 4800
Pixel pitch17.6 µm (1443 ppi)
Brightness150 cd/m2 @ 20% duty
Color depth10 bits
Viewing angle230°(H), 15° (V)
Refresh rate120 Hz

Anyway, while this new display technology sounds like it could offer one of the best VR experiences yet, Google and LG aren’t the only ones working on this sort of solution.

Japan Display plans to show off a 3.25 inch, 1,001 ppi display at SID Display Week, while INT Tech says it’s developed the first 2,228 ppi display.

via RoadToVR

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9 replies on “Google and LG inch closer to virtual reality displays indistinguishable from real reality”

  1. I can see Real Reality for FREE. I don’t need a $500 pair of Google Goggles to see that.

  2. VR equates to wearing heavy headsets that smell like sweat, hard to focus properly and play only mediocre games where you only stand still and do stuff with your arms and hands (with poor accuracy). Then after all that, you’ll come out of it feeling dizzy and nauseated.

    A higher resolution displays would help a lot but I think most of the improvements need to come in reducing the headset form factor.

    1. You know nothing RoadOfMajor. Why spout off your opinion in the first place when you know absolutely nothing about the state of the VR industry over the past two years.

      Everything you said was wrong you clunky sweaty bastard.

      There are loads of amazing games with true-to-life tracking for the oculus rift and htc vive.

      asynchronous time warp for the oculus does a great job of not making you feel dizzy even on poor hardware.

      These systems were specifically designed to combat this.

      Lastly, if you don’t want to sweat in them, turn on the ac or face a fan towards you while you’re playing VR. Problem solved.

    2. You may be exaggerating but you’re not that far off from the truth (dare I say reality 🙂 ).

  3. Research paper, huh? Hopefully, by the time this is actually mass producible and doesn’t cost more than all the other components combined, HMD based VR/AR is actually wide-spread to make this effort actually pay off.

    Too bad VR is kind of a dud market right now. VR adoption isn’t exactly great.

  4. A bit of a waste of resources as standalone VR is a tiny niche and the focus should be on glasses that can do AR/MR/VR.
    Long term, full presence VR is a huge deal but likely only achievable with a brain-compute interface so no need for displays.

  5. This was a great write-up – learned an awful lot from the data. This is all new to me and the numbers really quantify how effective (in theory) this will all be. Not a gamer but I wonder how this will effect the immersive aspect of Movies/TV going forward. Other things like video calls, live street views (with the proper infrastructure) and similar for a truly mass market appeal.

    Still have a preference for holographic displays (which is still at their infancy) since the idea of closing myself up (wrapping myself up with headphones, eye coverings) feels very confining.

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