Virtual Retinal Display beams images onto your eyeballs


— 10:22 AM on October 14, 2013

Everyone seems to be pretty excited about the Oculus Rift VR headset. The folks at Avegant are working on an even more intriguing head-mounted display. Dubbed the Virtual Retinal Display, the headset eschews LCD screens in favor of a micro-mirror array that beams reflected light directly into the eyes.

Avegant CEO Ed Tang spoke to CNet about the technology, which purportedly eliminates eye strain while also producing more realistic images than traditional LCDs. He describes the difference as being akin to watching something through a window versus on a screen. You can see CNet's Tim Stevens try out the headset in the video below.

The current prototype offers a resolution of 1280x800 per eye, but the perceived resolution is supposedly much higher. According to Tang, the micro-mirror tech eliminates the pixelization and screen door effect associated with traditional displays. Stevens says the resolution and color are "quite good" and notes that the picture is comfortable for his eyes to view.

Somewhat surprisingly, gaming isn't Avegant's focus. The company thinks people will use its Virtual Retinal Display to watch video content. There don't appear to be any barriers to gaming on the thing, though. The prototype can already pump out images at 240 frames per second.

Although the existing versions of the Virtual Retinal Display look a little funky, a more polished, consumer-oriented product is set to debut in the first quarter of next year. Avegant is planning a crowd-funding drive to fuel production, and it promises a "consumer-friendly" price.

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