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More Realistic AR Display Places Digital Images Among Real Objects


A virtual teapot (center) appears to be in front of some real objects, behind others.

A prototype augmented-reality display developed at the University of Arizonas College of Optical Sciences can show a virtual image that both blocks real-world objects sitting behind it, and which can itself be blocked by other real-world objects placed in front of it.

Credit: University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences

University of Arizona researchers have developed a prototype augmented reality (AR) display that can show a virtual image that both blocks real-world objects sitting behind it and can itself be blocked by other real-world objects placed in front of it.

The display, which is similar to a telescope, uses lenses to project a real-world view on a spatial light modulator, which is employed to make a mask that, pixel by pixel, blocks out the portion of the real world in front of which the virtual object will sit.

The modulated light and the virtual image then travel through the eyepiece to reach the user's eye.

University of Arizona professor Hong Hua notes one of the major challenges to making this kind of dual occlusion work in AR is dealing with light, specifically the ability to precisely control light from the real world in order to superimpose a digital image in front of real-world objects.

From Technology Review
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