Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers accepting award at conference

September 06, 2023

Researchers Win Best Paper at Top Graphics Conference

Krista Burns

Sankaranarayanan and researchers won Best Paper at the 2023 Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM SIGGRAPH). Their paper, “Split-Lohmann Multifocal Displays,” describes a near-eye 3D display that instantaneously creates a virtual world, fully supporting the human eye’s native ability to focus on content placed at different distances. This capability enables a viewer to experience 3D videos and interactive games at a previously unattainable level of immersion.

The technique revisits ideas first developed in the 1970s, where a technique for focus tunability called Lohmann lenses was first invented. These consist of two optical elements called cubic phase plates, that allow for the focus to be adjusted by shifting the two elements with respect to one another. However, this approach required mechanical motion as well as slower operating speeds, both of which are undesirable in AR/VR displays.

The new display splits the Lohmann lens, placing the two cubic plates in different parts of the optical system. A phase modulator positioned in-between them allows the translation to be optical, instead of mechanical. This system has an added benefit. The underlying arrangement allows for different parts of the scene to be subject to different amounts of translations, and so be placed at different distances to the eye.

Since 1974, ACM SIGGRAPH has been fostering and celebrating innovation in Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, building communities that invent, educate, inspire, and redefine the computer graphics landscape.

The research team includes electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. students Yingsi Qin and Wei-Yu Chen, Matthew O’Toole, assistant professor of computer science and robotics, and Aswin Sankaranarayanan, professor of electrical and computer engineering.