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Valve’s Index Incorporates Stereo-correct Passthrough View

Since its launch, Index by Valve had a passthrough view feature. Recently, the company launched an experimental update, the aim of which is to enhance the view through the cameras. This will offer a more realistic vision by developing a synthetic image that is more relevant to what the eyes should see.

In the past, donning a Valve Index headset and double-tapping the menu button would greet the user with a “passthrough” view of the surroundings. Even if the view was stereoscopic, it did not exactly show what can be seen without wearing the device. For the most part, this happened because the cameras fixed on the headgear were not aligned appropriately with the eyeballs. The cameras are quite a few inches away from the positioning of the eyes and are further apart from each other.

Valve launched an upgrade to Index’s passthrough view, which has been crafted to address these problems and provide the users with a stereo-correct view. They call it “Room View 3D”. If you possess an Index headset, you are eligible to try it simply by installing the SteamVR beta v1.13 and toggling on “3D” in SteamVR’s “Camera” options. This update is also an advancement in Index’s firmware to help lessen the latency of the cameras.

In the case of the Room View 3D, the view from every camera is compared to measure the depth of different parts of the scene, which is then distorted from the original input from the camera. It is more similar to what cameras would see if they were placed exactly where your eyes are.

Valve index passthrough Room View 3D. Image source: valve

Valve’s Room View 3D is close to the “Passthrough+” feature available on the Rift S and Quest. However, Oculus is more stable right now under the same lighting conditions. The experimental approach that Valve has taken will gradually improve. According to the company, this functionality is evolving quickly, and they want to know the users’ thoughts and suggestions. They say it worked with Occipital and Arcturus Industries to build the underlying technique of computer vision.

Before the launch of their headset, Valve mentioned that the cameras on Index are right for computer vision. However, almost a year after the release, the company did not seem to be doing much after the initial passthrough view. But, this has just changed. Sadly, the new Room View 3D, and the original passthrough view is still suffering from a delay of several seconds during activation, which is not a big deal but can be troublesome for people who want quick peaks outside of the device. The passthrough activation on Oculus’ headgears is almost immediate, turning it into an easy way for quick peaks outside for activities like talking to someone or ensuring the playspace is not intruded.

Valve said that people can expect even more experiments in the following months. It could also lead to the passthrough view being integrated into SteamVR’s process of boundary setup since the last headsets of oculus have established that this enables a seamless experience.

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