Breatkthrough In Light Field Technology – But Does It Have VR Porn Applications?

By | June 23, 2020

Google light field camera capture tech breakthrough

Light field technology is a potentially awesome way of capturing the world, allowing us to walk around scenes and (within defined spaces recorded by the light field camera) view everything from any angle we find ourselves in. It’s a technology that been around for quite a while now, but as with 3D technology in general, progress has been rather disappointingly slow in making it truly consumer ready. A good introduction to the tech can be found here.

But now it appears that Google have made something of a breakthrough in light field tech, and once again many are speculating on what implications it might have for virtual reality porn (r/OculusNSFW).

Google is taking immersive media technology to the next level, showing a practical system for light field video. Wide field of view scenes can be recorded and played back with the ability to move around within the video after it has been captured, revealing new perspectives. Developed by a team of leading research scientists and engineers, the new research shows the ability to record, reconstruct, compress, and deliver high-quality immersive light field videos lightweight enough to be streamed over regular Wi-Fi, advancing the state of the art in the rapidly emerging field of immersive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms.

This tech will have enormous possibilities, including for virtual reality, but I’m sceptical whether it would transform VR porn.

Currently, most VR porn is live action recorded video. And the vast majority of that is in POV mode, where the viewer inside his headset identifies with the body of the male actor in the scene. Aside from the technical limitations of the Google setup being bulkier than the VR camera systems used currently, it’s hard to see what advantage lightfield would bring to current VR POV porn, as you can’t move around in recorded scenes, only more easily immersive yourself into the illusion of being the male body by moving your head around in 3D space.

Some VR recorded adult movies are filmed in the standard porn non-POV mode, or what has become termed ‘voyeur mode’ with regard to its application in VR porn. Light field would indeed take ‘voyeur mode’ to another level. You could walk around a scene, view the masturbation or sex from any angle. You could walk through an orgy scene. But it would most certainly be ‘voyeur’ in the true sense of the term, because rather than feel yourself identifying with the male actor, you would feel yourself a ghost, as the performers in the scene would clearly not be aware of your movements.

What about live VR porn, such as webcam chat? Here is where light field technology would make a difference. However, the webcam performer would likely need to know in some way, where you are ‘in the room’, otherwise it might be a bit creepy or at least awkward (where does she or he look?).

Perhaps light field could be useful in the rendering of digital worlds? And perhaps more fundamentally, it would make possible a way of two remote users (for example, a webcam girl and a fan, or a long distance couple) to share a mutual virtual environment. Rather than transforming what we now enjoy as VR porn, it could make possible something far more interesting in what would be better termed mixed reality (or ‘merged reality‘) and augmented reality.

light field rendering in vr

An example of light field rendering in VR using the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 by Joan Charmant (2016)

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