Complete Field of View:
Human Evolution Sets the Stage

We Evolved with a Wide Field of View and are Nervous Without It

The species of earth evolved while immersed within their environments. Owls and cats and wolves, the predators, have eyes on the front of their skulls, allowing them to see small details on three-dimensional objects. Sparrows and canaries and rabbits, the prey, have eyes on the sides of their heads, and can see almost the full circle. We can guess why. Evolution is a competitive struggle. In order for the human race to evolve, long before humans existed, competition is became hard-wired into the human make-up. Our wide view field coupled with our stereo vision give us an evolutionarily competitive edge. Traditional display methods rob us of this advantage.

The spectacular viewing angle of the human eye is often noted but rarely studied. The readily measurable high-resolution fovea is easier to deal with and easier to accomodate. Thusly, traditional computer and television displays simply service this part of our vision. We at LeepVR suggest that the extra-foveal peripheral field is equally important and that it is not just a vestige of evolutionary advantage, but a provider of diverse clear benefits in competitive gaming. Additionally, it provides unmeasured, but viscerally perceptible appeals for the human being, with pervasive and deep significance for the psyche. There is a price we pay when we give it up.

We often do give it up in this age of two-dimensional pictures. Icons, paintings, pages and screens constrain us for a significant part of our lives to use roughly one percent of our visual stage. We are not naturally adapted to narrow graphics and photographs, motion pictures and video, are images. The appreciation of these images is a learned and artificial technique. No matter how realistic details of the artificial world, we will never perceive it as real so long as our interface is unnaturally restricted. Videowrap is video technology that fills out the human visual perception. It brings us back up to where we were when we first crawled from the sea.

The evolutionary environment, until recent millennia, provided few images on flat surfaces. The real world is lush, virbrant, and three-dimensional. The human perception of reality is greatly predicated upon this level of visual immersion. Traditional VR HMDs convey a restricted visual field. Should we truly call it Virtual Reality when it lacks the single most important virtue of reality? Whether we should or not, we do, and it's a crime. We at LeepVR developed the Videowrap the visual technology to provide a truly virtual experience.

The Myth of FOV-Induced Vertigo

There is a perception among some gamers and VR fans that a full field of view and the resulting immersion are difficult for the brain to interpret. They believe this difficulty is what causes their heightened state of vertigo coupled with nausea and headaches. We have no doubt that these people are experiencing the symptoms as they claim, but if the wide FOV and deep immersion has this result, why don't we have these problems while fully immersed in ordinary life? It’s important to be clear on the fact that an HMD will only cause these ill effects as a result of poor design — one that produces something unnatural that makes us sick.

Some say that the answer to the supposed wide-angle problem lies in providing the user with motion tracking so that the rendered world responds more naturally. This line of thinking is not incorrect. Certainly, a more natural interface facilitates the brain's interpretation a virtual world. The fallacy lies in the assumption that a wide FOV could cause these symptoms to begin with. We grew up with a wide FOV, so that can't be it. If a gamer experiences headaches, dizziness, and nausea from using a certain display, then the problem is neccessarily the result of something unnatrual in the interface.

Certain video games induce motion sickness even when played using a standard monitor. Again, the effect is not the same for everyone. While experiencing them through Videowrap, these games will likely cause similar effects. It's also entirely possible that Videowrap could reduce nauseating effects because the player gets his full natural visual field. He no longer looks through a window and that means his mind no longer translates two different reference frames moving at contradicting relative speeds. In any case, we doubt gamers have anything to worry about if they use Videowrap to play Tetris.

There are plenty of real-world situations in which the world does not respond in a manner synchronized to a person's movement. For example, someone could be sitting completely still in a car while watching the scenery pass him by. Some people claim to experience greater motion sickness if they are unable to look out the windows. Some people never experience motion sickness at all. If a given person is prone to experience vertigo, headaches, or nausea from motion in real-world situations, he is more likely also to experience them while playing video games — especially those games that use interfaces simulating reality. Depending on the way movement integrates with the gameplay and the visual display, some games are more likely than others to elicit these symptoms.

One sufferer of motion sickness may claim that he is able to assemble two different reference frames so long as one of them corresponds to the acceleration forces he feels. If he reads a book while riding in a car, the pages do not accelerate to match his "gut" feeling. The absence of such a coupling may be one of the culprits. This is all grist for a research project, but not something about which anybody, including us, knows to be sure.

So why do some people believe that the wide FOV is what makes them sick? In all likelihood, it has to do with orthospace, or the lack thereof. When a display renders an image to the user without suffering from any distortion, we call that orthospace. Non-orthoscopic space requires the convergence of the eyes at various points in the visual field to differ. This can be uncomfortable, if not nauseating. Anyone who has viewed the world through a pane of dimpled glass or looked at his own reflection in a funhouse mirror already knows how disconcerting this effect can be. The stereo images just don't match up and the problem becomes more severe with a wider stereoscopic overlap field.

The point of this speculation is to say that the human mind is a powerful and complex thing. Oversimplifying our model of how the brain interprets movement does not do justice to that complexity. Videowrap renders the virtual world in complete orthospace. Instead of compensating for the natural evolution of human sight, we embrace its capabilities. Humans have a wide visual field for a reason. A full field of view is what’s natural and we present that full field in the only natural way: by using completely undistorted orthospace.