MM Blog: Improving VR With Monocles

A look at how an advanced technology is bolstered with 19th century science.

Virtual and augmented reality could eventually be crucial components of 21st century manufacturing. But in order to speed up adoption of those systems, engineers went back to more than 100 years. Researchers from Dartmouth University and Stanford University next month will present new research on monovision — a common technique in modern-day ophthalmology that dates to the monocles of the Victorian Era.

Monovision essentially allows each eye to focus at different distances. The researchers modified an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with liquid lenses that resulted in better user performance in virtual environments. The prototype could resolve the mismatch between convergence and accommodation — or the visual cues sent from eye muscles to the brain — that's long plagued VR systems. And that could be good news for manufacturers, who could use virtual reality to evaluate products, designs and scenarios before they even exist.


Will this research lead to faster adoption by industry? Or do VR systems still need further tweaks in order to be practical for most manufacturers?

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