Facebook Patent | Parallax Viewer System for 3D Content

Patent: Parallax Viewer System for 3d Content

Publication Number: 20190037137

Publication Date: 2019-01-31

Applicants: Facebook

Abstract

A parallax viewer system allows 3D content, such as 360 degree 3D panoramas or other 3D environments, to be viewed by a user through a traditional 2D screen. A parallax viewer system operating on a user device can use a user-facing camera and a 2D screen to simulate a 3D environment for a user viewing the 2D screen. By changing the rendered view of the 3D environment as the user’s head moves with respect to the screen, the parallax viewer system can provide many of the immersion benefits of a VR or 3D display using a traditional 2D display. In some implementations, the parallax viewer system can be calibrated to work in new situations (for example, on a new user device) by determining the relationship between the user-facing camera and the screen used to display the virtual environment.

Background

Virtual reality (VR) content, 3D content, or other 360 degree panoramic content can provide a uniquely immersive experience to a user. For example, giving a user the ability to “look around” inside a virtual environment or other 3D scene while motion or other activity occurs around the user. However, using conventional display methods, 3D content, such as 360 degree 3D panoramas or other 3D environments, can either be viewed through a traditional 2D screen or experienced in 3D using specialized and expensive equipment, such as a head-mounted VR display or other specialized display designed for displaying content in 3D. When viewing 3D content using a head-mounted VR display (or other specialized display) the full immersion benefits of VR or 360 degree panoramic content can be realized. In contrast, traditional methods of displaying content on 2D screens display 3D content the same way 2D content (such as a TV show or movie) would be displayed, that is, the 3D content is presented on the 2D screen assuming a static viewpoint for the user. In many cases traditional methods of presenting 3D content on a 2D screen do not effectively create the impression that a user is viewing a 3D environment or provide immersion benefits over viewing traditional 2D content. Due to the high cost and relative unavailability of head-mounted VR displays and other 3D display systems, many users are unable to take advantage of the immersion benefits of VR and 360 degree panoramic content. Therefore, improved methods of viewing immersive VR or 360 degree panoramic content on a 2D screen are needed.

Summary

A parallax viewer system allows 3D content, such as 360 degree 3D panoramas or other 3D environments, to be viewed by a user through a traditional 2D screen. A parallax viewer system operating on a user device can use a user-facing camera and a 2D screen to simulate a 3D environment for a user viewing the 2D screen. By changing the rendered view of the 3D environment as the user’s head moves with respect to the screen, the parallax viewer system can provide many of the immersion benefits of a VR or 3D display using a traditional 2D display. For example, the parallax viewer system can allow a user to “look around” inside the 3D environment by moving their head as if looking through a window formed by the screen.

In some embodiments, a user-facing camera is used to track the user’s position in space relative to the camera. This camera-relative position can then be translated to identify the user’s position relative to the screen of the user device. In some implementations, the parallax viewer system can be calibrated to work in new situations (for example, on a new user device) by determining the relationship between the user-facing camera and the screen used to display the virtual environment.

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