Virtual Reality Resolution

Posted: 05.20.08

M.C. Escher: Hand with Reflecting SphereM.C Escher: Hand with Reflecting Sphere

A number of months ago I visited a defense contractor who is making virtual reality training simulations for the military. To use the system people put on a VR headset which has a resolution of 800 x 600. At this meeting I asked the developers what the "virtual resolution" of their world was and the concept was lost to them. Well what I meant was how many pixels are in the universe from a single perspective around the user.

Lately I have been flying Microsoft Flight Simulator X with a TrackIR head tracking device which allows me to look around. A static viewpoint is 2560 x 1600 and I can find about six views from the cockpit that do not overlap. So using my concept of Virtual Reality Resolution - the pixel count is (2560x1600) * 6 = 24,576,000 I guess the field of view plays a part in this as well. What I'm driving at is a way to measue the VR world visual definition fidelity by a theoretical sphere of pixels around a user. The larger the pixels; the smaller possible number of pixels - and the less possible visual reality and immersion. On the flipside - the smaller the pixels, the more that can be fit into the sphere - to a theorertically ifinite level.

If the Star Trek Holodeck existed - how many pixels would be neeeded to create the illusion of reality? I'm just thinking out loud and may be missing something or someone who has already delved into this area.