What is FOV?
In short, field of view (FOV) is the angle measured in degrees in which you can see in front of you. It can be measured horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. The human eyes combined have a horizontal field of view of 180 degrees.
The human eyes cannot bring the entire 180 degrees into focus. Instead, it is divided sections in which they can.
- 5°-30° Ultra sharp part of vision
- 30°-60° Immediate central focus
- 60°-180° Peripheral vision, visual quality decreases as FOV increases
Achieving a wide FOV in AR is very difficult without running into technical setbacks. You can read more about these technicalities here. Currently, there are 2 major trade-offs that have to be made:
- Bigger FOV = Lower resolution, Duller virtual graphics
- Smaller FOV= Higher resolution, more opaque virtual graphics
Field of View: 30° to 120°
Some may favor a smaller FOV in trade of higher resolution and opaque graphics. But let’s take a look how each FOV bracket effects a simple low polygon mixed reality scene.
As you can see above a small FOV from 30° to 90° cuts out a lot of the scene. Having a smaller field of view ultimately degrades the user experience. It will severely limit developers ability for apps to tell a story.
Achieving wide FOV?
Achieving an FOV higher than 105° runs into a lot of complex technical problems that will take some time to solve. Jono MacDougall discusses a few methods of which to increase FOV through Tiling, Freeform Optics, and the use of scanning fiber projectors. You can read more here from his blogpost. Also, check out our Top 4 smart glasses of 2016 to see what current devices have the largest FOV.
There is speculation that Magic leap is working on a 48Mpx display that can have an FOV of 120°. That is a highly optimistic speculation, but many have who have personally demoed say otherwise. The final product could be anywhere between 90° to 120°. But let’s keep our fingers crossed for now.