We first discuss the ultimate specifications of an augmented reality display that would saturate the human perception. Thereafter our study identifies fundamental limitations and trade-offs enforced by laws of optics for any augmented reality display that uses passive optical elements such as visors, waveguides, and meta-surfaces to deliver the image to the eye. The limitations are categorized into 7 rules that optics designers must consider when they are designing augmented reality glasses. These rules are directly drawn from Fermat's principle, perturbation theory, linear optics reciprocity, and human visual perception principles. Based on psychophysical theories we further work toward defining and quantizing levels of depth that would saturate the human depth perception. Our results indicate that passive optics acts as a passive system with less than unity pulse response function that would always reduce the performance of the original light source. Additionally, our investigations reveal the dynamics between allocation of depth levels and number of depth levels for ultimate lighfield experiences.
Barmak Heshmat, Leihao Wei, and Moqian Tian, "Ultimate augmented reality displays with passive optics: fundamentals and limitations," Proc. SPIE 10937, Optical Data Science II, 1093707 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 06, 2019; Published: 1 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2505803.
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