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Why are IPD > 70mm and presciption lens support not addressed?

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Is there a reason for not being able (or willing?) to make HMD with IPD > 70mm, which ruins VR experience for ~5~10% of the customers?

I've been watching this drama since the beginning of VR.

Much effort has been put into secondary features, we could live without. But the two major problems with the optics, things that really matter: the IPD range and support for prescription lenses (another 65% of the world population), are still competely ignored.

With the new models, the IPD even got worse.

I mean, making very small IPD may be difficult due to physical space restrictions. But why is it so difficult to add tiny 3 mm on each side to boost IPD to like 76-78mm?


The first company to make that masterpiece I will say: shut up and take my money!


Edited by yurijgera
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@yurijgera In a nutshell it's an industry wide effect that's driven by the panel supply and optics. You kind of hit the head on the nail by citing the 5% stat - this wave of VR started off by basically recycling components like displays off existing smartphone component manufacturing lines. We're just now at the start of seeing VR devices that have hardware that's specifically built for XR from the ground up.

So basically, the designs are currently limited by the supply of panels/optics that can be sourced, and the fact that with current panels and optics you'd have to make some extreme design changes to accommodate wider IPDs that would negatively impact the other ~95%  of users to implement.

An overly simplified take is that:

  • The size, and shape of the display panels have been a huge limiting factor until now.
    • Until fairly recently, VR was recycling panels from smartphone manufacturing lines. VR specific display panels are just barley starting to come onto market in 2022/2023.
    • All panels thus far in consumer headsets have been flat, and are basically smartphone screens.
    • In all headsets thus far, the display is fixed, but the lenses move which you can only the move laterally so far before the distortion becomes unacceptable.
      • Making a reliable system where the lenses move alongside the lenses would add an absurd amount of complexity, bulk/weight, cost, and introduce tons of new failure points.
  • The industry is moving away from Fresnel lenses which should open some new doors.
  • VR Headsets are generally designed to accommodate the general population within a 95% confidence interval. Designing a product that works with 95% of the human population's morphology is super hard. Less than 5% of people have IPDs over 70mm, with the mean being 63mm.
  • Quest users skew very heavily towards youth/teen which is heavily dragging the VR market's demographics -> more demand for narrow IPD support than higher IPD support which is impacting what OEMs are developing.

Things like curved screens and pancake optics will probably help with this specific problem because because it might allow you to target wider IPDs with minimal distortion and without having a massively wide headset frame. If the display is motorized (optomechanical) it blows open a ton of new possibilities - but it's hard tech to miniaturize into a consumer device.

We're in the middle of a major transition right now where you're starting to see VR specific chips, optics, and hardware coming out of fabs in Asia finally. You've seen what XR2 has done to mobile VR - similar optimization is occurring on all of the other components in a headset now that demand is high enough to support the XR hardware ecosystem.



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  • 3 months later...

@HackPerception when you say 5%, in truth, that stat is wrong. The currently ignored market is actually more in the double digits globally.

Globally, IPDs easily range from X - 76mm on a weighted average (so it goes higher).
For example, see https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349865719_Interpupillary_distance_measurements_for_the_African_population_of_Polokwane_in_Limpopo_province_South_Africa.
Those folks from that study came in at a mean of 67.2 mm, and majority range weighed in at 63mm to 76mm.

If the plan for VR manufacturers includes other races beyond asians and caucasians (predominantly narrow face market), then they need to first make sure they are getting the stats right. A more global mean should be considered when compiling the stats to justify ignoring the wide-face market.

If they realized that what they think is a mere 5% market omission is actually more in the double-digit percent range, this would likely change the priority this issue receives in the board meetings.

Edited by myIPDis78
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