An optical see-through head-mounted display (OST-HMD), which enables optical superposition of digital information onto the direct view of the physical world and maintains see-through vision to the real world, is a vital component in an augmented reality (AR) system. A key limitation of the state-of-the-art OST-HMD technology is the well-known accommodation-convergence mismatch problem caused by the fact that the image source in most of the existing AR displays is a 2D flat surface located at a fixed distance from the eye. In this paper, we present an innovative approach to OST-HMD designs by combining the recent advancement of freeform optical technology and microscopic integral imaging (micro-InI) method. A micro-InI unit creates a 3D image source for HMD viewing optics, instead of a typical 2D display surface, by reconstructing a miniature 3D scene from a large number of perspective images of the scene. By taking advantage of the emerging freeform optical technology, our approach will result in compact, lightweight, goggle-style AR display that is potentially less vulnerable to the accommodationconvergence discrepancy problem and visual fatigue. A proof-of-concept prototype system is demonstrated, which offers a goggle-like compact form factor, non-obstructive see-through field of view, and true 3D virtual display.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics