Robot skull measures VR and AR headsets from any angle

Robot skull measures VR and AR headsets from any angle


Image: Optofeidality

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The Buddy test system measures VR and AR headsets with up to six degrees of freedom.

Optofidelity, the Finnish manufacturer of screen measurement systems, has developed what is probably one of the all-time nightmarish test rigs, “Buddy”. Attached to a jet black robotic platform is a (partial) human head model with an exclusive vision module which tests virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses.

With a helmet placed on the model, two cameras in the artificial skull mimic the eyes. An advanced version of the system manages tests in the six degrees of freedom. Buddy’s best design to date is able to examine many helmet parameters with complete freedom of movement.

Robot tests for AR and VR headsets

Many axes allow versatility of system testing. The frame slides laterally on a floor rail, rotates around its axis and raises and lowers the “artificial head”. This mimics the free movements that real helmet users also perform: forward/backward, up/down, left/right, nodding, rolling and yawing (turning sideways).

The main areas of application are development departments and production lines for VR and AR headsets. Examples include benchmarking, performance testing, and software content review. In addition to image quality factors such as sharpness or color fidelity, tracking systems also find issues such as deviations.

The manufacturer provides information on all VR headsets compatible with the test system. Optofidelity also describes the configuration as relatively simple. All necessary components are included. Friend, therefore, even replaces complex lab setupsaccording to the promotional material.

An important metric is the “photon motion latency”. It measures the delay between a head movement and its visible implementation in the virtual world. If the latency is too high, the backdrop moves too late, which can cause nausea or a weaker sense of presence.

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The stability with which objects remain anchored in the world or in front of the head can also be checked. Thanks to a new synchronization technique, modern and future screen technology should also stay measurable. These include OLED displays, bright field displays and projection-based displays.

Three or six degrees of freedom

The spec sheets on the official site have largely focused on previous iterations of the three-degree-of-freedom (3DOF) Buddy system. This restricted version only moves on a fixed base, instead of also sliding laterally on a rail crossing the floor.

The motion-to-photo analysis described here can be performed at a frame rate of up to 120 hertz. The simulable pupil distances range from 55 to 75 millimeters, which also mimics very narrow and wide eye distances.

The official Optofidelity Buddy website lists further technical details, including “Robotic Specifications” for fine details such as movement speeds or possible deviations. There, the 3DOF variant can also be examined during a test with Hololens. Optofidelity provides pricing for Buddy systems upon request.


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