Tuscany comparison
A comparison of image quality from Microsoft’s lens and the Oculus Rift DK2. Photo: Microsoft Research

The research and development arm of tech giant Microsoft has just come up with a digital optics solution that surpasses the capabilities of those found on the Oculus Rift VR headset.

Microsoft Research has developed an optical system that bests out the quality than that of the lenses found in the Oculus Rift DK2 VR headset. A free-to-download CAD file was made available in the Microsoft Research website, detailing all the technical specifications of the said optical system.

The lens system made by Microsoft Research is described as having a relatively smaller field of view (FOV) than that of the Oculus Rift DK2, while having a “slightly smaller” footprint. In addition, the said optical system produces sharper images across the FOV, as well as taking advantage of greatly reduced chromatic aberration.

Oculus vs. MSR Lens
Photo: Microsoft Research

These lenses are developed by a research and development program called “LensFactory” at Microsoft Research. Moreover, the lens system can be bought from Edmund Optics, and the housing for these lenses can be 3D-printed using a high-end 3D printer from Objet.

Another thing that Microsoft warns for the use of its optical system is the incompatibility of the lenses with components printed using “hobbyist” printers aside from the official 3D printer. It said that with using these third-party 3D-printed components and not those printed using the supported 3D printer, the lenses may not be held properly in place.

According to the readme file found on the downloadable bundle from Microsoft Research’s website, any interested users of the optical system must purchase lenses with a so-called Visible Light Anti-reflection Coating (VIS). These kind of lenses are very expensive, costing up to $225 per eye. These specialized lenses are responsible for the improved overall visual quality of images produced, and are notably not present in the Oculus Rift DK2 headset due to its high cost. For comparison, the Oculus Rift DK2 retails for $350.

Microsoft said that its in-house optical system will work wonders using the Unity game engine for correcting lens distortion. This means that the lenses will not work as expected on other game engines aside from Unity, and the source code must be rewritten for the lenses to work with other game engines.

For more information on the new lens system by Microsoft, please visit the following websites:

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/c73c6865-160f-451e-9106-ef7fef7543f4/default.aspx
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/06/microsoft-claims-to-have-developed-superior-oculus-rift-lenses/
http://www.cio.com/article/2941913/microsoft-claims-its-lens-system-can-improve-the-rifts-vision.html

http://www.virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Oculus-vs.-MSR-Lens-600x450.jpghttp://www.virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Oculus-vs.-MSR-Lens-150x90.jpgJohn Marco OscilladaMicrosoftTechnologyThe research and development arm of tech giant Microsoft has just come up with a digital optics solution that surpasses the capabilities of those found on the Oculus Rift VR headset. Microsoft Research has developed an optical system that bests out the quality than that of the lenses found in...VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive News