Patent published on September 28, 2023

Meta's New Patent Could Make VR Experiences on Quest 2 More Vivid

Looking at your screen, have you ever felt the picture quality could be improved? Especially when it comes to Virtual Reality headsets like the Meta Quest 2, wouldn't you prefer a more evenly illuminated, sharply vivid display? This might soon be a reality thanks to a new patent by Meta Platforms Technologies, numbered US20230305306A1.

The core issue at hand is the uneven distribution of light across screens, a part of every display device. Imagine taking that almost perfect picture where the colors are just a bit off on one side, or the movie scene where the one corner looks a tad too dark. This problem could ruin the user's experience and is especially significant when it comes to VR devices, where every pixel matters for a convincing experience.

The issue is due mainly to how existing "backlight units"- the parts that shine light on the pixels to make up the image, work. Most of them use 'side firing lights', placed at the top, bottom or left, right of the display area. However, these lights tend to distribute light less uniformly across the display, creating dimmer areas. What's worse, these light strips are often longer than the display area, unnecessarily occupying more space – a major disadvantage when size and weight constraints matter, like for handheld devices and VR headsets.

So, how does Meta's patent remedy this issue?

Their patent, called "Backlight unit for near-eye displays with corner placement of light-emitting diodes", proposes a new design for the backlight unit. Instead of packing the lighting elements along the sides, they placed them at the corners of the display device, and to improve things further, they even angled the lights for a more even distribution.

But here's where it gets more interesting. The patent also describes how the device could modify the amount of light emitted or choose specific lights to turn off, all in the name of saving power and enhancing the contrast between the dark and light shades in an image – a prominent feature in VR Images.

Imagine the world post this innovation: streaming your favorite movies and actually getting the real, vivid experience as intended by the filmmakers. Or plunging into your VR world with more vibrant visuals and immersive gaming experiences. Not to mention, reduced power consumption could mean longer device battery life.

These are all unique, real-life benefits the patent could offer, provided it is granted and Meta uses this technology in its Quest 2 or future headsets. Remember, these intricate details are purely based on the patent documents, and patents often take a considerable time to become reality, if at all. But, if it does see the light of day, we could be stepping into better, brighter visual experiences soon!

P.S. While this patent gives us a hint to where display technology might be heading, there is no guarantee if or when it will materialize into a marketable product. Indeed, like many patents, this one represents a potential solution, not a promise.

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