Oculus Rift S to Get Better Quality Passthrough+ and ASW on RTX GPUs in June Update
The Oculus Rift S software update that is coming out next month will have a better ASW 2.0 as well as Passthrough+ on the latest NVIDIA Turing GPUs.
Apart from the RTX cards, it will also be compatible with the GeForce GTX 1660 as well as the 1660 Ti as both of these have Turing encoder hardware. However, due the to the fact that it has a previous generation encoder chip, it is still not clear whether it will also be compatible with the GTX 1650.
ASW or Asynchronous Spacewarp refers to the Oculus Rift headset’s driver-level frame drop compensation technology.
If your Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) is not maintaining its framerate in virtual reality, the Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) will automatically kick in to “compensate”. It will subsequently force the running app to render the VR experience at half the refresh rate of the VR headset thereby generating a synthetic frame after every real frame. When the ASW has kicked in, half of the frames will be real while the other half will be synthetic. If the framerate performance gets back to normal, the ASW will deactivate and the app will resume its normal rendering.
In synthesizing a new frame, the motion between the previous frames will be utilized. This is realizable from the video encoder in the graphics card. However, these motion vectors do not provide adequate quality.
The Passthrough+ refers to the camera passthrough mode found in the Oculus Rift S. Whenever a user steps beyond the Guardian boundaries or double taps the Oculus button, they will be able to visualize the real world outside the virtual reality experience, but in black and white. It is a clever innovation in the latest Oculus headsets that merges the real with the virtual world.
In the Oculus Quest headsets, the passthrough feature has not been set at the right depth and scale. The objects will appear smaller and up close and this can put a strain on the eyes.
On the other hand, the Oculus Rift S makes use of the same video encoder found in the ASW to render the best results. It leverages the same algorithm to provide optimal outcomes that will have the same scale and depth. This works by running a comparison of the frame motion to the known position of the VR headset. According to Facebook, the Passthrough+ feature is a cutting-edge state-of-the-art innovation.
The Turing Optical Flow
The latest version of NVIDIA has ‘Turing’ GPUs like the RTX cards and the GTX 1660 Ti which are designed with hardware for motion detection known as optical flow. This functionality is enabled via the NVIDIA’s Optical Flow SDK.
The new hardware will increase the macroblock resolution fourfold. It also boosts the motion vector resolution, allows for the following of objects via intensity changes while also emphasizing the plausible vector flow over the compression ratios. According to Facebook, this hardware upgrade will halve the errors in the device.
The Passthrough+ functionality will work based on these motion estimations, resulting in increased stereo resolution. With a Turing GPU, you will see a marked improvement in the Passthrough+ experience from next month.
Other Update Improvements Coming in June
The upcoming updates in June will also usher in improvements to the built-in audio in the devices. One of the commonest problems that users have reported so far is that of the volume of the headset being too low. Some have also complained of the devices having a poor bass. According to the Head of VR Product at Oculus Nate Mitchell, next month’s update will boost the bass as well as the overall volume which will make a “meaningful difference” in the virtual reality experience.
Facebook has also stated that it is working on a fix for the “white snow” effect that some users have been experiencing with their headsets. This involves the image flashing to a white static pattern. Facebook has stated that the improvements on the “white snow” issue will be coming “soon after launch”.