Foveated rendering is a rendering technique which uses an eye tracker integrated with a virtual reality headset to reduce the rendering workload by greatly reducing the image quality in the peripheral vision (outside of the zone gazed by the fovea).
Research into foveated rendering dates back at least to 1991.
At CES 2016, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) demoed a new 250 Hz eye tracking system and a working foveated rendering solution. It resulted from a partnership with camera sensor manufacturer Omnivision who provided the camera hardware for the new system.
According to chief scientist Michael Abrash at Oculus, utilising foveated rendering in conjunction with sparse rendering and deep learning image reconstruction has the potential to require an order of magnitude fewer pixels to be rendered in comparison to a full image. Later, these results have been demonstrated and published.
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