Samsung has patented a VR headset with a curved screen, able to display larger images on a smaller sized device.
Spotted by UploadVR (via TechRadar), the patent was filed by Samsung to the USPTO in January 2018, and was published just over a year later. The original patent was made to the Korean Intellectual Property Office in 2016.
The patent shows how a normal rectangular image will be processed by the headset to fit the curved OLED display, distorting the centre with something akin to a fisheye lens effect. Meanwhile, the left and right sides are more subtly distorted and also keystoned, making the edges look like they’re fading into the distance. This image is then seen by the user through viewports using a combination of one wide-angle and one narrow-angle lens for each eye.
The patent notes that the normal field of vision for an individual is about 200 degrees, while most VR displays top out at 100 to 120 degrees. It’s hoped that this invention would lead to displays capable of showing images closer to 180 degrees, without increasing the size of the headset. This would then theoretically make VR experiences more immersive and entertaining, and could make it it far easier for people to use the headsets without getting motion sickness from a field of view that's too narrow.
Curved screens are becoming something of a Samsung trademark, with its phones, monitors and TVs all being given the convex display treatment. When considered with Samsung’s history with its Gear VR and Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality technology, the patent seems like a natural next step.
But of course, patents are not guarantees. Nor are they an indicator of anything coming in the near future. But Samsung’s apparent continued effort with this invention, having now gone on for over three years, hopefully means that the average VR user will benefit from the hard work of the company’s R&D department.