Innovega unveils tech to deal with vergence-accommodation conflict

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Washington-based startup Innovega has unveiled new technology that it claims manages the vergence-accommodation conflict that causes discomfort and visual fatigue when using near-eye displays such as those found in virtual reality (VR) headsets.

Innovega, launched by inventor and optometrist Jerome Legerton and Stephen Willey, former CEO of augmented reality (AR) company MicroVision, described and demonstrated the technology in a new whitepaper.

The vergence-accommodation conflict occurs when three-dimensional (3D) depth cues presented by a stereo 3D display, or the real world, stimulate the eyes to focus at distances that are different from the fixed distance at which the static display panel is focused.

“Resolving the vergence-accommodation conflict is known to reduce the time required to identify 3D stimuli, improve stereoacuity with fast frame rates, reduce distortions in perceived depth, and reduce viewer fatigue and discomfort,” explained Legerton. “We are pleased to reach the stage where we can describe and demonstrate the continuous depth of field of our iOptik contact lens-enabled wearable display optics.”

Mark Freeman and Jay Marsh, authors of the whitepaper, serve on the Innovega research and development team as director of opto-electronics and photonics, and vice president of engineering, respectively.

Willey said: “Innovega sees high value in solving this challenge to visual comfort that has caused other augmented and virtual reality developers to pursue strategies that add significant complexity, bulk, weight and cost.”

Those disadvantages are completely avoided by using Innovega’s long depth of focus contact lens optics

Stephen Willey, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of innovega

“Those disadvantages are completely avoided by using Innovega’s long depth of focus contact lens optics. Combined with vision correction that’s required by more than 60 percent of the population, and panoramic high-resolution experiences from stylish and lightweight eyewear, the eMacula system delivers a platform that wearers need or want.”

Innovega has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute and from private investment.

It claims its technology is the first human-friendly, panoramic-field-of-view system for AR and VR.

Its eMacula combination of glasses and iOptik smart contact lenses, doing away with traditionally bulky VR headsets, provides the user with a discreet, high-performance entertainment and information experience that goes beyond any available system, according to Innovega.