Patent published on May 30, 2024

Sony's Patent: Improved Virtual Reality Streaming System for a More Comfortable Viewing Experience

Sony Interactive Entertainment has recently been granted a patent for a virtual reality streaming system that promises to revolutionize the viewing experience for users. With patent number US20240179327A1, Sony's innovation aims to tackle two major issues plaguing current virtual reality (VR) streaming technology.

The first problem addressed by this patent is the challenge of efficiently encoding a wide field of view, which often requires a large transmission bandwidth. Sony's solution involves a camera and display system that work together seamlessly. The camera captures images that encompass a broader range than what can be seen on a regular screen. It also detects its own orientation, allowing it to determine which way it is facing. These images are then sent to a specialized display worn on the head.

The display, such as the Sony PlayStation VR Streaming System, enhances the viewing experience by showing only the specific part of the image that aligns with the viewer's gaze. This means that users wearing the display will see exactly what they are looking at, eliminating unnecessary distractions and enhancing immersion. By dynamically adjusting the displayed content according to the viewer's line of sight, the system ensures a more comfortable and natural VR experience.

The second problem tackled by this patent relates to motion-induced nausea during VR streaming. In live streaming scenarios where the camera is in motion, such as being mounted on a skier, a racing car, or held by a performer on stage, the subsequent viewers may experience discomfort due to the disparity between what they see and the motion their bodies perceive. Sony's patent addresses this by utilizing a motion cancellation technique.

As the camera moves, the VR display compensates for the motion by adjusting the viewpoint in the opposite direction. This effectively stabilizes the image seen by the user, reducing the risk of nausea. This compensation can be applied in combination with the actual movement of the VR display, allowing users to explore a steady version of the image while still preserving intentional camera motions, resulting in a more enjoyable and immersive streaming experience.

Once this problem is solved, the world of virtual reality streaming will undergo a significant transformation. Users will no longer feel disconnected from the content they are viewing, as the patent's system enables a seamless and realistic representation of their line of sight. Imagine watching a live concert and being able to focus on your favorite artist effortlessly or observing a thrilling motorsports event with a stable viewpoint despite the camera's movements.

In addition to entertainment, this technology could have wide-ranging applications in various industries. For example, it could be utilized in remote surgeries, enabling surgeons to have a clear and stabilized view of the operating field. Virtual tourism could also be enhanced, allowing travelers to explore different destinations in a more immersive and realistic manner.

It is important to note that this patent does not guarantee the immediate appearance of the technology in the market. It represents a novel approach and potential solution to the challenges of VR streaming, but its actual implementation and availability will depend on a variety of factors.

In conclusion, Sony's patent presents a groundbreaking solution to the problems of wide field of view encoding and motion-induced nausea in VR streaming. By leveraging innovative camera and display technologies, the patent promises to deliver a more comfortable, immersive, and enjoyable virtual reality experience. As technology continues to evolve, we eagerly await further advancements that will improve the way we engage with virtual content.

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