Sony debuts its Spatial Reality Display allowing for 3D visualization without the need for a VR headset

In Virtual Reality News

October 16, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc., has recently announced the debut of its ‘Spatial Reality Display’ (SR Display), a new product made with Sony’s Eye-Sensing Light Field Display (ELFD) technology. The display, initially shared with attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of this year, enables creators across a variety of industries to bring ideas to life in 3D displays, without the need to use virtual reality (VR) glasses or a headset. 

“We’re excited to bring the world’s best technology to bear, moving the design and creation industry forward, particularly as the shift to digital has become so pronounced,” stated Mike Fasulo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics North America. “This technology drives new versatility, allowing us to advance an entirely new medium and experience for designers and creators everywhere.”

According to Sony Electronics, its SR Display uses spatial reality to combine the virtual and physical world in order to create a 3D optical experience that is viewable to the naked eye. This is made possible by several technologies:

  • High-speed Vision Sensor – The SR Display is based on a high-speed vision sensor that follows a viewer’s exact eye position in space, on vertical, horizontal and depth axes simultaneously. The display monitors eye movement down to the millisecond, while rendering the image instantaneously, based on the location and position of the viewer’s eyes. This allows creators to interact with their designs in a highly-realistic virtual, 3D environment, from any angle without glasses;
  • Real-time Rendering Algorithm – Additionally, the SR Display leverages an original processing algorithm to display content in real-time. This allows stereoscopic images to appear smooth, even if the viewer moves around;
  • Micro Optical Lens – The micro optical lens is positioned precisely over the device’s 15.6 inch LCD display. The lens divides the image into the left and right eyes, allowing for stereoscopic viewing with just the naked eye.

Furthermore, Sony’s dedicated SDK allows designers to create content for the SR Display. The SDK is compatible with Unity and Unreal Engine, allowing creators to work within an already-familiar production environment to develop interactive applications in gaming, VR, construction, and automotive design. 

To highlight the capabilities of the company’s new technology, Sony Electronics collaborated with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures subsidiary Ghost Corps on the upcoming Ghostbusters film, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” scheduled for release in 2021. The collaboration focused on using the SR Display to bring both familiar and new film characters to life, through the new visual medium.

“We have been working with the Sony team to bring Ghostbusters characters and assets to life using Sony’s Spatial Reality Display,” noted Eric Reich, Brand and Franchise Executive at Ghost Corps. “Moving forward, we could see potential benefits from pre-visualization to 3D modeling. The display offers a new approach to visualizing concepts and characters, making understanding the finished product that much easier.”

Sony offered other examples of the SR Display’s applicability, including within the automotive industry, where there is potential to integrate the product early on in the new vehicle design ideation process, where it could help improve quality, speed and the tangible nature of the concepts themselves, according to the company.

Commenting on the SR Display from an automotive industry standpoint, Frantisek Zapletal of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.’s Virtual Engineering Lab US, stated: “At Volkswagen, we’ve been evaluating Sony’s Spatial Reality Display from its early stages, and we see considerable usefulness and multiple applications throughout the ideation and design process, and even with training”. He added, “We’re excited to continue blazing trails and collaborating with Sony to find practical use cases for this innovative product at Volkswagen.”

Sony noted that the SR Display’s suggested retail price stood at USD $4,999.99 and CAD $6,649.99. The device will be available to order on Sony’s direct e-commerce site and other retailers in November. For more information, please click here.

Video / image credit: Sony Electronics, Inc. / YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.