NCTU PhD Student Wins a Research Award from the Facebook Reality Labs for Researching and Developing a Reflective Zoom Component that Ameliorate Augmented Reality-Induced Dizziness
Wang Yu-Jen (back row, the second one from the left)

NCTU PhD Student Wins a Research Award from the Facebook Reality Labs for Researching and Developing a Reflective Zoom Component that Ameliorate Augmented Reality-Induced Dizziness
October 27, 2020

Head-mounted displays often employ the binocular disparity method to make virtual image 3D. However, the differences between the depths of focus in users’ eyes cause them to experience dizziness. To solve this problem, Wang Yu-Jen, a PhD student of the Department of Photonics, NCTU, combined liquid crystal zoom lens and a reflective zoom component, enabling the spatial depths of virtual images to be adjusted and thereby diminishing the vergence-accommodation conflict. Wang’s innovative research earned him the Liquid Crystal Research Platinum Award issued by the Facebook Reality Labs, becoming the only person to win an award from the said institution in Asia.

The focus of Wang’s PhD dissertation is a large-aperture liquid crystal lens with arbitrary waveforms. He has produced successful results such as large-aperture, electrically controlled liquid crystal zoom glasses spliced using the spatial phase; a liquid crystal component with freeform optical surface waveforms; and a liquid crystal-assisted optical system. The award that Wang received from Facebook Reality Labs was for an augmented reality-based optical system that he researched and designed since 2017.

Wang explained that head-mounted displays often employ the binocular disparity method to make virtual image 3D. However, the differences between the depths of focus and rotational angles in users’ eyes cause users to experience dizziness. This phenomenon is called the “vergence-accommodation conflict” and remains one of the technical bottlenecks in the development of augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR)-based optical systems today. To solve this problem, Wang rearranged liquid crystal zoom lenses into reflective zoom components, allowing the spatial depths of virtual image to be adjusted and reusing liquid crystal lens with limited focal length adjustment ranges.

Another obstacle involving AR/VR optical systems is users with poor eyesight; users cannot wear both glasses and AR/VR optical system, also said systems are unable to adjust their images according to the users’ eyesight. To solve this problem, Wang developed large-aperture, electrically controlled liquid crystal zoom glasses, allowing users with nearsightedness or farsightedness to see images. Wang’s AR device successfully solved the two problems above at once.

Professor Lin, Wang’s dissertation advisor, indicated that Wang received his university education at the National Chiao Tung University and later decided to pursue a PhD degree there upon graduation. In addition to winning the Facebook Reality Labs award, Wang worked with Google this year to introduce the world’s first electronically controlled liquid crystal component that possessed a plane and a freeform optical surface waveform. Said component can repair spherical and coma aberrations. Furthermore, Wang and Google proposed electronically controlled liquid crystal parallel plates to solve the problem of VAC architecture, making the parallel plates arguably the smallest and thinnest “solution” today. From proposing innovative research to solving industry problems, Wang’s outstanding academic achievements fully demonstrate National Chiao Tung University’s efforts in training students, guiding their research directions, and connecting them to the international community.