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Has Nvidia just solved VR's biggest problem?

A man with a beard wears VR glasses
(Image credit: Jonghyun Kim / Nvidia)

VR has been threatening to be a success for years, but those big and bulky headsets that make your head sweat is one big reason few people are willing to jump in. Nvidia could just have solved VR's biggest engagement problem with a prototype that resembles a pair of sunglasses. That's cool.

We've been discussing the rise of VR for a while, and you can take a look at the detail with our feature on the artist's guide to VR and our guide to the best VR apps available now. And of course, VR will be crucial to the success of the metaverse. But there's always been that headset design problem, so let's take a look at Nvidia's idea…

A VR headset works by magnifying images seen by the user, and it does this by placing good distance between the eyepiece and the display. That gap is why traditional VR headsets, such as the PSVR and Oculus, look so bulky. There are 'pancake' lenses that are thinner but these can only flash up 2D images, which defeats the purpose of immersion. 

A man wears strange looking VR glasses

The Nvidia VR glasses are at an early prototype stage (Image credit: Jonghyun Kim et al / Nvidia)

Nvidia, along with researchers at Stanford University, has come up with the clever idea of combining the two technologies. They have created prototype VR glasses with ultra-thin lenses that can be used for virtual reality. These planned VR glasses are only 2.5 millimetres in thickness.

The downside for now is that these Nvidia work-in-progress designs use a mix of 2D and 3D hologram images to give the impression of a virtual space. This means these VR glasses can only display quite limited images and of a lower quality than traditional headsets.

But Nvidia's glasses point to a future where sunglasses-like VR goggles could be a virtual reality, erm… reality. In the meantime it seems PSVR 2 could also show us the future, and Apple's VR headset could mix VR and AR, making these a new benchmark. Either way, the future of VR is looking more exciting, and 'cool', than ever before.

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Ian Dean is Art and Design Channel Editor at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX magazine and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. With over 25 years' experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.