Sony Patent | Information processing apparatus, information processing method, and program

Patent:

Drawings:

Publication Number: 20210063746

Publication Date: 20210304

Applicant: Sony

Abstract

[Problem] To provide an information processing apparatus, an information processing method, and a program. [Solution] An information processing apparatus including a display control unit that causes a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space. The display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit, and causes the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

Claims

  1. An information processing apparatus comprising: a display control unit that causes a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space, wherein the display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit, and causes the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

  2. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the predetermined range is a range separated by a predetermined distance or longer from the user.

  3. The information processing apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the display control unit causes the display unit to display a stereoscopic image in the predetermined range.

  4. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located at a closer range than the predetermined range.

  5. The information processing apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising: a first determination unit that determines that the virtual image is located at a closer range than the predetermined range on the basis of detection of a predetermined user’s action.

  6. The information processing apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located at a closer range than the predetermined range on the basis of detection of the predetermined user’s action.

  7. The information processing apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the display unit is a display unit of a head-mounted display, and the predetermined user’s action includes an action in which the user faces downward.

  8. The information processing apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the predetermined user’s action includes an action in which the user moves one of an arm and a hand to inside of a field of view.

  9. The information processing apparatus according to claim 8, wherein when the predetermined user’s action is detected, the display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image on one of the arm and the hand of the user.

  10. The information processing apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising: a second determination unit that determines that the virtual image is located at a closer range than the predetermined range on the basis of detection of a predetermined real object.

  11. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the display unit has a substantially fixed virtual image distance.

  12. The information processing apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the predetermined range is a range based on at least one of a first distance that is smaller than the virtual image distance and a second distance that is larger than the virtual image distance.

  13. The information processing apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the first distance and the second distance are set such that a difference between a convergence angle corresponding to the virtual image distance and a convergence angle between the left-eye image and the right-eye image becomes equal to or smaller than 1 degree and equal to or larger than -1 degree.

  14. The information processing apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the display unit has optical transmissivity.

  15. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the three-dimensional space is a real space.

  16. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the display control unit determines the one image that is to be displayed by the display unit, on the basis of user information including information on a dominant eye that is set in advance.

  17. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit causes the display unit to display, instead of one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image that is not displayed by the display unit, an alternative image having a smaller amount of information than an amount of information in the one image.

  18. The information processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the display unit includes a left-eye display that displays the left-eye image, and a right-eye display that displays the right-eye image, and if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit reduces power supply to one of the left-eye display and the right-eye display.

  19. An information processing method comprising: causing, by a processor, a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space; causing the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit; and causing the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

  20. A program that causes a computer to execute functions of: causing a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space; causing the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit; and causing the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

Description

FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to an information processing apparatus, an information processing method, and a program.

BACKGROUND

[0002] In recent years, a display device that displays an image that can be viewed in a stereoscopic manner (hereinafter, referred to as a stereoscopic image or a virtual image) in a three-dimensional space has been used. For example, there is a known technology in which a left-eye image and a right-eye image are displayed such that the images are deviated in a horizontal direction to give binocular disparity to a user, so that a stereoscopic image is viewed as if the stereoscopic image is located in a three-dimensional space. However, stereoscopic vision using the display device as described above may impose a burden on the user.

[0003] In contrast, a technology for reducing a burden on a user in stereoscopic vision has also been proposed. For example, Patent Literature 1 described below proposes a technology for reducing, in a display device that is worn on a user and displays a left-eye image and a right-eye image, a burden on a user that may occur depending on magnitude of a convergence angle with respect to a display object (stereoscopic image) that is perceived by the user.

CITATION LIST

Patent Literature

[0004] Patent Literature 1: International Publication No. WO/2017/022303

SUMMARY

Technical Problem

[0005] However, a factor that imposes a burden on the user in stereoscopic vision is not limited to just the magnitude of the convergence angle with respect to the stereoscopic image. For example, in a display device that displays a stereoscopic image, a difference may occur between a distance to an image of display light focused by eyeballs of the user (adjustment distance) and a distance from the user to a display position at which the stereoscopic image is displayed (convergence distance). In a case in which the difference is increased, a burden may be imposed on the user.

[0006] As described above, in the technology for displaying a stereoscopic image, there is a demand to reduce a burden on a user.

Solution to Problem

[0007] According to the present disclosure, an information processing apparatus is provided that includes:

[0008] a display control unit that causes a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space, wherein

[0009] the display control unit causes the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit, and causes the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

[0010] Moreover, according to the present disclosure, an information processing method is provided that includes:

[0011] causing, by a processor, a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space;

[0012] causing the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit; and

[0013] causing the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

[0014] Moreover, according to the present disclosure, a program is provided that causes a computer to execute functions of:

[0015] causing a display unit to display a virtual image in a three-dimensional space;

[0016] causing the display unit to display only one of a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to the virtual image if it is determined that the virtual image is located outside of a predetermined range in a depth direction when viewed from a user of the display unit; and

[0017] causing the display unit to display the left-eye image and the right-eye image if it is determined that the virtual image is located inside of the predetermined range.

Advantageous Effects of Invention

[0018] As described above, according to the present disclosure, it is possible to reduce a burden on a user in stereoscopic vision.

[0019] Further, the effects described above are not limitative. That is, with or in the place of the above effects, any of the effects described in this specification or other effects that can be recognized from this specification may be achieved.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a relationship between an adjustment distance and a convergence distance in a range of an amount of difference recommended in ISO 9241-392.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an example of an exterior of an information processing apparatus common to all of embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0022] FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an overview of display of a stereoscopic image according to the present technology.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of an information processing apparatus 1-1 according to a first embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating another example of the operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of an information processing apparatus 1-2 according to a second embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0027] FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-2 according to the second embodiment.

[0028] FIG. 9 is an explanatory diagram illustrating a hardware configuration example.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0029] Preferred embodiments of the present disclosure will be described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. In this specification and the drawings, structural elements that have substantially the same functions and configurations will be denoted by the same reference symbols, and repeated explanation of the structural elements will be omitted.

[0030] Furthermore, in this specification and the drawings, a plurality of structural elements that have substantially the same functions and configurations may be distinguished from one another by appending different alphabets after the same reference symbols. However, if the structural elements that have substantially the same functions and configurations need not be specifically distinguished from one another, the structural elements will be denoted by only the same reference symbols.

[0031] In addition, hereinafter, explanation will be given in the following order.

[0032] <<1. Introduction>> [0033] <1-1. Background> [0034] <1-2. Overview of present technology>

[0035] <<2. First Embodiment>> [0036] <2-1. Configuration> [0037] <2-2. Operation>

[0038] <<3. Second Embodiment>> [0039] <3-1. Configuration> [0040] <3-2. Operation>

[0041] <<4. Modification>> [0042] <4-1. First modification> [0043] <4-2. Second modification> [0044] <4-3. Third modification>

[0045] <<5. Hardware configuration example>>

[0046] <<6. Conclusion>>

1.* INTRODUCTION*

1-1. Background

[0047] For explanation of embodiments of the present disclosure, a background that has led to creation of the embodiments of the present disclosure will be first described.

[0048] In recent years, a display device that displays a stereoscopic image (virtual object or the like) such that the image is viewed as if the image is superimposed in a three-dimensional space (hereinafter, may be simply referred to as superimposed) has been developed. For example, with use of a display device that is called a head-mounted display (hereinafter, referred to as an HMD) and that is worn on a head of a user, it is possible to display a left-eye image and a right-eye image such that the images are deviated in a horizontal direction to thereby display a stereoscopic image in a three-dimensional space.

[0049] Meanwhile, in the present specification, the stereoscopic image means an image that is displayed in a three-dimensional space and allows a user to feel binocular disparity. Therefore, the stereoscopic image is not limited to an image having a three-dimensional shape, but even a stereoscopic image having a two-dimensional shape may be adopted if the stereoscopic image allows a user to feel binocular disparity by being displayed in the three-dimensional space and viewed by the user as if the stereoscopic image is present at a display position at the time of display. Contents of the stereoscopic image are not specifically limited, and may include, for example, a character, an effect, a text, a button, or the like. Further, the three-dimensional space in which the display device superimposes the stereoscopic image may be a real space or a virtual space. In the following, an example in which a stereoscopic image is displayed in a real space will be mainly described.

[0050] When the stereoscopic image is displayed in the real space, a display unit that displays a left-eye image and a right-eye image in the HMD includes, for example, a lens and a compact display panel with optical transmissivity. In this configuration, a virtual image distance (may also be referred to as an adjustment distance) that is a distance from a user (more precisely, from eyeballs of the user) to an image of display light focused (adjusted) by the eyeballs of the user depends on a positional relationship between the lens and the compact display panel. Therefore, if the positional relationship is fixed, the virtual image distance at which the virtual image is focused is fixed. Meanwhile, it may be possible to include a mechanism for driving a lens in the display unit to make it possible to change the virtual image distance; however, this may lead to a complicated device configuration or an increase in a device size, and therefore, in the following, an example will be described in which a display unit with a fixed virtual image distance is adopted. As described above, the virtual image distance and the adjustment distance are substantially correspond to each other; however, in the following, the “virtual image distance” may be mainly used in the context of explanation on the display device for the sake of convenience, and the “adjustment distance” may be mainly used in the context of explanation of natural vision for the sake of convenience.

[0051] In contrast, a depth feeling given to the user is influenced by a distance (hereinafter, referred to as a convergence distance) from the user (more precisely, from the eyeballs of the user) to the display position of the stereoscopic image, and a convergence angle that is an angle determined by an interval between a left eye and a right eye (hereinafter, referred to as an interpupillary distance). If it is assumed that the convergence distance is denoted by D, the interpupillary distance is denoted by I, and the convergence angle is denoted by .alpha., a relationship represented by Expression (1) is established.

Tan(.alpha./2)=I/(2*D) (1)

[0052] In Expression (1), the interpupillary distance I varies between individuals but can be assumed as fixed for each user, and therefore, the convergence angle .alpha. of a certain user is determined by the convergence distance D. Then, the eyeballs of the user move in accordance with the convergence angle .alpha. determined by the convergence distance D.

[0053] Meanwhile, in the case of natural vision for observing a real object present in the real space, the eyeballs of the user adjust a focus in accordance with a distance from the user to the real object. Further, in the case of natural vision, the eyeballs of the user adopt a distance from the user to the real object as the convergence distance and rotate in accordance with a corresponding convergence angle. In other words, in the case of natural vision, the adjustment distance and the convergence distance match with each other.

[0054] However, in an existing display device, while the virtual image distance is fixed as described above, a stereoscopic image is displayed such that the convergence angle is changed in order to give a depth feeling to a user. As a result, unlike the case of natural vision as described above, the adjustment distance of the user and the virtual image distance of the display device substantially match with each other. In contrast, a difference occurs between the adjustment distance and the convergence distance, and the difference may become a cause of a burden, such as an uncomfortable feeling or a discomfort feeling, on the user. In addition, as a result, a symptom, such as motion sickness, may occur.

[0055] Further, eyeball movement of the user varies between individuals, and therefore, some users may have difficulty in fusing and observing images due to a difference between the adjustment distance and the convergence distance. The user as described above may also have difficulty in fusing images of a real object present at a close range, and therefore, a tendency to have difficulty in fusing images may increase if the adjustment distance and the convergence distance are different from each other.

[0056] With regard to the difference, in ISO 9241-392, it is recommended that an amount of difference between a convergence angle that is obtained when the convergence distance and the adjustment distance match with each other and a convergence angle that corresponds to an actual convergence distance is set to be .+-.1 degree or smaller. FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a relationship between the adjustment distance and the convergence distance in a range of the amount of difference recommend in ISO 9241-392.

[0057] In FIG. 1, in the case of natural vision indicated by a chain line, the adjustment distance represented by a horizontal axis and the convergence distance represented by a vertical axis match with each other. In the case of natural vision, the convergence angle is equivalent to a convergence angle that is obtained when the convergence distance and the adjustment distance match with each other as described above. Meanwhile, if the user focuses on the stereoscopic image, the convergence angle in the case of natural vision in FIG. 1 can be assumed as being substantially equal to the convergence angle corresponding to the virtual image distance.

[0058] In contrast, a range in which the convergence angle that corresponds to the convergence distance becomes at least 1 degree larger than the convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision is a region below a curved line represented by a solid line in FIG. 1. Further, a range in which the convergence angle that corresponds to the convergence distance becomes at least 1 degree smaller than the convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision is a region above a curved line represented by a dashed line in FIG. 1. In other words, the recommended range described in ISO 9241-392 corresponds to a range between the solid line and the dashed line in FIG. 1.

[0059] A change of the convergence angle increases with a decrease in a distance at which display is performed; therefore, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the recommended range is reduced with a decrease in the convergence distance or the adjustment distance. In some applications provided in an HMD as described above, it is often the case that a distance (convergence distance) to a display position of a stereoscopic image may be a short distance of 2 meters (m) or smaller, and in this case, a burden, such as an uncomfortable feeling or a discomfort feeling, may be imposed on a user.

[0060] For example, in an HMD capable of superimposing a stereoscopic image in a real space, a use case may be adopted in which the stereoscopic image is displayed on a hand of the user as a display position. In this case, a length of the hand of the user varies between individuals or depending on a posture or the like, but it is possible to assume that the convergence distance that is a distance from the user to the display position of the stereoscopic image approximately falls within a range of 30 centimeters (cm) to 70 cm. The convergence angle corresponding to this convergence distance falls within a range of 7 degrees.

[0061] In contrast, as described above, the amount of difference recommended by ISO 9241-392 is .+-.1 degree, that is, the recommended range is a range of 2 degrees. Therefore, if a display unit of an HMD is designed to have a fixed virtual image distance by taking into account the use case as described above, there is no virtual image distance by which all of expected convergence distances fall within the recommended range. Therefore, in the use case as described above, as long as the virtual image distance of the display unit is fixed, the display unit may be used while exceeding the recommended range described in ISO 9241-392, so that a burden, such as an uncomfortable feeling or a discomfort feeling, is likely to be imposed on the user.

1-2. Overview of Present Technology

[0062] To cope with this, the embodiments of the present disclosure are made by focusing on the above-described circumstances. An information processing apparatus according to the embodiments of the present disclosure, when it is determined that a stereoscopic image is located outside of a predetermined range of the stereoscopic image, is able to display only one of a right-eye image and a left-eye image of the stereoscopic image, to thereby reduce a burden on the user. In the following, an overview of a technology of the embodiments of the present disclosure (hereinafter, also referred to as a present technology) will be described with reference to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. Hereinafter, for the sake of convenience, the adjustment distance and the virtual image distance are uniformly described as the “adjustment distance”.

[0063] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an example of an exterior of an information processing apparatus common to all of the embodiments of the present disclosure. As illustrated in FIG. 2, an information processing apparatus 1 according to each of the embodiments of the present disclosure is realized by a glasses-type HMD that is worn on a head of a user U, for example. A display unit 15 that corresponds to a glasses-lens part located in front of eyes of the user U when the apparatus is worn has optical transmissivity.

[0064] Further, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the display unit 15 includes a left-eye display 151 that displays a left-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image, and a right-eye display 152 that displays a right-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image. When the information processing apparatus 1 is worn on the user U, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the left-eye display is located in front of a left eye of the user U and the right-eye display is located in front of a right eye of the user U. However, the present technology is not limited to this example, but it may be possible to display the left-eye image on a left side of an integrated display, and display a right-eye image on a right side of the same display. The information processing apparatus 1 is able to present a stereoscopic image in front of a line of sight of the user U by displaying the left-eye image and the right-eye image on the display unit 15.

[0065] Meanwhile, a shape of the information processing apparatus 1 is not limited to the example as illustrated in FIG. 2. For example, the information processing apparatus 1 may be an HMD of a headband type (a type that is worn by a band extended around the entire circumference of the head or a type in which a band is arranged so as to be extended along not only the side of the head, but also the top of the head), or an HMD of a helmet type (a visor part of a helmet serves as a display).

[0066] FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an overview of display of a stereoscopic image according to the present technology. A horizontal axis illustrated in FIG. 3 represents a convergence distance to a stereoscopic image displayed by the information processing apparatus 1 in a depth direction when viewed by the user U who is wearing the information processing apparatus 1 according to the embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0067] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the information processing apparatus 1 common to all of the embodiments of the present disclosure displays an image in any of display formats such as monocular display and binocular display in accordance with the convergence distance. Meanwhile, in the present disclosure, the binocular display indicates a display format in which both of the left-eye image and the right-eye image are displayed on the display unit 15, and the monocular display indicates a display format in which one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image is displayed on the display unit 15. Meanwhile, binocular non-display to be described later indicates a display format in which both of the left-eye image and the right-eye image are not displayed on the display unit 15.

[0068] If the binocular display is adopted as the display format of an image, it is possible to give binocular disparity to a user, and the user is able to stereoscopically perform observations. In contrast, if the monocular display is adopted as the display format of an image, binocular disparity is not given to the user, but it is possible to reduce a burden, such as an uncomfortable feeling and a discomfort feeling, on the user. Meanwhile, if a display position of the stereoscopic image is fixed in the three-dimensional space or fixed in a predetermined positional relationship with respect to an object in the three-dimensional space, it is possible to give a stereoscopic effect due to kinematic disparity to the user regardless of whether the binocular display or the monocular display is adopted as the display format of the image.

[0069] In the example illustrated in FIG. 3, the binocular display is adopted as the display format of the image when the convergence distance is equal to or larger than a first distance D1 and equal to or smaller than a second distance D2, and the monocular display is adopted as the display format of the image when the convergence distance is smaller than the first distance D1 or larger than the second distance D2. In other words, as illustrated in FIG. 3, if it is assumed that an inclusive range from the first distance D1 to the second distance D2 is referred to as a predetermined range R1, the binocular display is adopted as the display format of the information processing apparatus 1 when the stereoscopic image is located in the predetermined range R1 and the monocular display is adopted when the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1. Meanwhile, it may be possible to set a third distance smaller than the first distance D1, and adopt the binocular non-display when the convergence distance is equal to or larger than 0 and smaller than the third distance.

[0070] Here, the first distance D1 and the second distance D2 that define the predetermined range R1 may be set to have predetermined relationships with the adjustment distance that is fixed in the display unit 15. For example, a relationship of the first distance D1 with the adjustment distance that is fixed in the display unit 15 may be set such that the first distance D1 is a convergence distance corresponding to a convergence angle that is a predetermined angle larger than a convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision at the adjustment distance. Further, a relationship of the second distance D2 with the adjustment distance that is fixed in the display unit 15 may be set such that the second distance D2 is a convergence distance corresponding to a convergence angle that is a predetermined angle smaller than the convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision at the adjustment distance.

[0071] More preferably, the first distance D1 and the second distance D2 may be set such that the predetermined range R1 corresponds to the recommended range that is explained above with reference to FIG. 1. It is preferable that, for example, the first distance D1 is a convergence distance corresponding to a convergence angle that is 1 degree larger than the convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision as described above (hereinafter, also referred to as a convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle+1 degree). Further, it is preferable that the second distance D2 is a convergence distance corresponding to a convergence angle that is 1 degree smaller than the convergence angle that is obtained in natural vision as described above (hereinafter, also referred to as a convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle-1 degree). Table 1 described below is a table indicating a relationship of the adjustment distance, the convergence angle in the natural vision in which the adjustment distance and the convergence distance match with each other, and the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle.+-.1 degree. Meanwhile, the convergence angle in Table 1 is preliminary calculated based on the assumption that a distance between left and right pupils is 63.5 millimeters (mm), and may increase or decrease depending on an interpupillary distance of each of users.

TABLE-US-00001 TABLE 1 Relationship among adjustment angle, convergence angle in natural vision, and convergence distance corresponding to convergence angle of .+-.1 degree Adjustment distance 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 m Convergence angle in natural 1.819.degree. 1.213.degree. 0.9096.degree. 0.7276.degree. vision Convergence distance 1.29 m 1.64 m 1.91 m 2.11 m corresponding to convergence angle +1.degree. Convergence angle 4.4 m 17.1 m infinity infinity corresponding to convergence angle -1.degree.

[0072] According to Table 1, for example, if the adjustment distance is set to 5 m, the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle+1 degree as a limit of a short distance in the recommended range in FIG. 1 is 2.11 m, and the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle-1 degree as a limit of a long distance is infinity. Further, if the adjustment distance is set to 2 m, the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle+1 degree as the limit of the short distance in the recommended range in FIG. 1 is 1.29 m, and the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle-1 degree as the limit of the long distance is 4.4 m.

[0073] By setting the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle+1 degree to the first distance D1 and setting the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle-1 degree to the second distance D2, the monocular display is adopted as the display format of the image in the case where the position is located outside of the recommended range in FIG. 1, so that it is possible to reduce a burden on the user. However, the present technology is not limited to this example, and, for example, it may be possible to set the first distance D1 to a distance smaller than the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle+1 degree, and set the second distance D2 to the convergence distance corresponding to the convergence angle-1 degree.

[0074] Thus, the overview of the technology according to the present disclosure has been described above. Next, each of the embodiments of the present disclosure will be described in detail.

2.* FIRST EMBODIMENT*

2-1. Configuration

[0075] First, a configuration of the information processing apparatus 1 according to a first embodiment of the present disclosure will be described in detail. In the following, the information processing apparatus 1 according to the first embodiment of the present disclosure will be referred to as an information processing apparatus 1-1.

[0076] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment of the present disclosure. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment includes a control unit 12-1, a communication unit 13, the display unit 15, an operation input unit 16, and a storage unit 17. In the following, an overall configuration of the information processing apparatus 1-1 is first explained, and thereafter, functions of the control unit 12-1 will be described in detail.

[0077] The control unit 12-1 functions as an arithmetic processing device and a control device, and controls entire operation in the information processing apparatus 1-1 in accordance with various programs. Further, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the control unit 12-1 according to the first embodiment functions as a determination unit 121 and a display control unit 123. Functions of the control unit 12-1 as the determination unit 121 and the display control unit 123 will be described later.

[0078] The communication unit 13 is a communication module for performing data transmission and reception with other devices in a wired or wireless manner. The communication unit 13 performs wireless communication using a system, such as a wired local area network (LAN), a wireless LAN, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi, registered trademark), infrared communication, Bluetooth (registered trademark), or near field/contactless communication, with external apparatuses directly or via a network access point.

[0079] The display unit 15 is controlled by the display control unit 123 (to be described later), and displays a stereoscopic image in a real space (one example of a three-dimensional space). As described above with reference to FIG. 2, the display unit 15 has optical transmissivity, and with this configuration, it is possible to superimpose the stereoscopic image in the real space.

[0080] Further, the display unit 15 according to the present embodiment has the fixed adjustment distance (virtual image distance) as described above. Meanwhile, in the present specification, the display unit 15 having the fixed adjustment distance indicates that the adjustment distance is fixed in a state in which a positional relationship between the display unit 15 and both eyes of the user is fixed. Meanwhile, for example, if it is possible to change the adjustment distance by manual adjustment, when a configuration in which the adjustment distance is not automatically changed while the user is performing observation or the user is wearing the apparatus, it is assumed that the adjustment distance is fixed.

[0081] Furthermore, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the display unit 15 according to the first embodiment includes the left-eye display 151 and the right-eye display 152 that are described above with reference to FIG. 2. The left-eye display 151 and the right-eye display 152 may independently be controlled by the display control unit 123 to be described later.

[0082] For example, while the left-eye display 151 is displaying a left-eye image corresponding to a stereoscopic image, the right-eye display 152 may display nothing or may display an image irrelevant to the stereoscopic image or an alternative image (to be described later), for example. Furthermore, while the left-eye display 151 is displaying the left-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image, power supply to the right-eye display 152 may be reduced. Meanwhile, reduction of the power supply to the right-eye display 152 includes, for example, not only a case in which a power source of the right-eye display 152 is turned off and power supply to the right-eye display 152 is stopped, but also a case in which the right-eye display 152 enters a power saving mode in which power consumption is reduced. Meanwhile, it is a matter of course that the same control performed on the right-eye display 152 as described above is also performed on the left-eye display 151.

[0083] The operation input unit 16 is realized by an operation member, such as a switch, a button, or a lever, that has a physical structure.

[0084] The storage unit 17 stores therein a program or a parameter for causing the control unit 12-1 to execute each of functions. For example, the storage unit 17 may store therein a left-eye image and a right-eye image corresponding to a stereoscopic image displayed by the display control unit 123 (to be described later), a parameter related to the stereoscopic image, and the like. Furthermore, the storage unit 17 may store therein user information (to be described later).

[0085] Thus, the entire configuration of the information processing apparatus 1-1 has been described above. Next, the functions of the control unit 12-1 will be described in detail.

[0086] The determination unit 121 determines whether the stereoscopic image that is displayed in the real space by the display unit 15 is located outside of the predetermined range. For example, the determination unit 121 may use, for determination, the predetermined range R1 described above with reference to FIG. 3, and determine whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1. In other words, the predetermined range R1 that is used by the determination unit 121 for the determination may be an inclusive range from the first distance D1 to the second distance D2 from the user. As described above with reference to FIG. 3, the predetermined range R1 is a range based on the first distance D1 and the second distance D2 that have the predetermined relationships with the fixed adjustment distance of the display unit 15.

[0087] Meanwhile, here, it is preferable that the distance from the user is, for example, a distance from an intermediate position of the both eyes of the user, but strictness is not always required, and it may be possible to use a distance from a head position of the user as the distance from the user. Alternatively, because the information processing apparatus 1-1 is used by being worn on the user as described above with reference to FIG. 2, it may be possible to use a distance from the information processing apparatus 1-1 or the like as the distance from the user.

[0088] The determination unit 121 may determine whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1 by determining whether a display position of the stereoscopic image in the real space is located outside of the predetermined range R1. Meanwhile, a method of identifying the display position of the stereoscopic image depends on, for example, an application or the like provided by the information processing apparatus 1-1, and not specifically limited in the present embodiment. The display position of the stereoscopic image may be identified by the display control unit 123, a function (not illustrated) of the control unit 12-1, or the parameter stored in the storage unit 17.

[0089] Moreover, as described above, in some cases, the stereoscopic image itself has a three-dimensional shape and a difference in depth may occur in the stereoscopic image, for example. In this case, even if a position that is identified as the display position of the stereoscopic image is located inside of the predetermined range R1, a part of the stereoscopic image may be excluded from the predetermined range R1 and the part may impose a burden on the user. Therefore, if at least a part of the stereoscopic image is not included in the predetermined range R1, the determination unit 121 may determine that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1.

[0090] Meanwhile, a method of the determination performed by the determination unit 121 as to whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range is not limited to the example as described above. For example, the determination unit 121 may determine whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1 by determining whether a position of the center of gravity of the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1. Alternatively, the determination unit 121 may determine whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range on the basis of a type of the stereoscopic image. For example, the determination unit 121 may determine that a stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range R1 if the stereoscopic image is of a certain type for which it is determined in advance that the image is to be displayed at a a close range due to a parameter or the like stored in the storage unit 17. Moreover, the determination unit 121 may determine that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range if it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located at a closer range than the predetermined range.

[0091] The display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display the stereoscopic image in the real space (one example of the three-dimensional space). Further, the display control unit 123 according to the first embodiment controls the display unit 15 on the basis of the determination performed by the determination unit 121 as described above. The display control unit 123 may be able to independently control the left-eye display 151 and the right-eye display 152 included in the display unit 15 as described above. The display control unit 123 is able to cause the display unit 15 to display the stereoscopic image in the real space by causing the left-eye display 151 to display a left-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image and causing the right-eye display 152 to display a right-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image.

[0092] The display control unit 123 according to the first embodiment displays the stereoscopic image by switching between the display formats in accordance with a determination result obtained by the determination unit 121. For example, if the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located inside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 displays the stereoscopic image using the binocular display. In other words, if the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located inside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 causes the left-eye display 151 to display the left-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image and causes the right-eye display 152 to display the right-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image. Further, if the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 displays the stereoscopic image using the monocular display. In other words, if the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image. With this configuration, when a stereoscopic image that may impose a burden on a user if the binocular display is adopted as the display format, the display format of the image is switched to the monocular display and a burden on the user is reduced.

[0093] Furthermore, the display control unit 123 according to the first embodiment determines the one image that is to be displayed by the display unit 15 if it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range. The determination of the one image as described above may be performed by using various methods.

[0094] For example, the display control unit 123 may determine the one image that is to be displayed by the display unit 15, on the basis of user information that is set in advance. Here, the user information is information on the user who is wearing the information processing apparatus 1-1, and may be stored in the storage unit 17 as described above or may be input by the user via the operation input unit 16, for example. Further, the user information may include information indicating a dominant eye of the user, for example. Meanwhile, the dominant eye is an eye that is more frequently used by the user or an eye that is more preferably used by the user. The dominant eye may be determined by a well-known method. The well-known method is a method that is performed without using any device, but the display control unit 123 may cause the display unit 15 to display guide information for determining the dominant eye. Specifically, the display control unit 123 first causes the display unit 15 to display a message of, for example, “maintain a state in which a finger overlaps with a specific real object”. This message may be provided by the user by voice. Thereafter, a shielding image that shields approximately the entire field of view of the left eye is displayed on the left-eye display 151, and subsequently, the shielding image on the left-eye display 151 is deleted and a shielding image that shields approximately the entire field of view of the right eye is displayed on the right-eye display 152. The user is able to determine the dominant eye of the user by viewing the shielding image for the left eye and the shielding image for the right eye. Meanwhile, the information on the dominant eye of the user may be stored in the storage unit 17 by the user by any of input means.

[0095] If it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 may cause the display unit 15 to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image corresponding to the dominant eye. For example, the display control unit 123 may cause the display unit 15 to display only the left-eye image when the dominant eye of the user is the left eye, and cause the display unit 15 to display only the right-eye image when the dominant eye of the user is the right eye. With this configuration, even if the monocular display is adopted as the display format of the image, the user is able to view the stereoscopic image more comfortably.

[0096] Alternatively, the display control unit 123 may determine the one image that is to be displayed by the display unit 15, on the basis of the display position of the stereoscopic image in the field of view of the user. For example, the display control unit 123 may display only the left-eye image when the display position of the stereoscopic image is located on the left side with respect to a central direction of the field of view of the user, and display only the right-eye image when the display position is located on the right side with respect to the central direction of the field of view of the user. Meanwhile, here, the center of the field of view of the user may be determined in accordance with orientation of the information processing apparatus 1-1. Further, whether the display position of the stereoscopic image is located on the right side or the left side with respect to the central direction of the field of view of the user may also be determined based on the left-eye image and the right-eye image corresponding to the stereoscopic image.

[0097] Furthermore, the display control unit 123 according to the first embodiment may realize the monocular display by controlling power supply to the display unit 15. For example, if it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 may realize the monocular display by reducing power supply to one of the left-eye display 151 and the right-eye display 152. Meanwhile, as described above, reduction of the power supply includes not only stop of power supply, but also transition to the power saving mode in which power consumption is reduced. With this configuration, it is possible to reduce power consumption.

[0098] Alternatively, if it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 may realize the monocular display by causing the display unit 15 to display an alternative image in place of one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image that is not displayed by the display unit 15. It is preferable that the alternative image is an image with low visibility for the user. Further, the alternative image may be an image that is prepared in accordance with characteristics of the display unit 15, and may be, for example, a black image or a white image. In other words, it is satisfactory that the alternative image is an image with a smaller amount of information than the image that is not displayed. With this configuration, for example, even if it is difficult to control power supply to the left-eye display 151 and the right-eye display 152, it is possible to realize the monocular display.

2-2. Operation

[0099] Thus, the configuration example of the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment of the present disclosure has been described. Next, an example of operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment will be described. In the following, an example of basic operation of the first embodiment will be first described with reference to FIG. 5, and thereafter, an example of operation of determining one image to be displayed by the display unit 15 on the basis of the display position of the stereoscopic image will be described with reference to FIG. 6.

[0100] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating an example of the operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment. With reference to FIG. 5, first, the display position of the stereoscopic image is identified (S104). Identification of the display position of the stereoscopic image at Step S104 may be performed by, for example, the display control unit 123 or a certain function (not illustrated) of the control unit 12-1.

[0101] Subsequently, the determination unit 121 determines whether the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range (S108). If the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range (Yes at S108), the display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display the stereoscopic image using the binocular display (S112).

[0102] In contrast, if the determination unit 121 determines that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range (No at S108), the display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display the stereoscopic image using the monocular display (S116).

[0103] Thus, the example of the basic operation of the first embodiment has been escribed. Meanwhile, at Step S116, the display control unit 123 may cause the display unit 15 to display, for example, only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image corresponding to the dominant eye of the user on the basis of the user information as described above. Alternatively, the display control unit 123 may cause the display unit 15 to display only one of the left-eye image and the right-eye image determined in advance.

[0104] Further, the display control unit 123 may also be possible to determine the one image that is to be displayed by the display unit 15, on the basis of the display position of the stereoscopic image as described above. Here, with reference to FIG. 6, an example of the operation of determining one image to be displayed by the display unit 15 on the basis of the display position of the stereoscopic image will be described.

[0105] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating another example of the operation performed by the information processing apparatus 1-1 according to the first embodiment. Steps S104 to S112 in FIG. 6 are the same as Steps S104 to S112 in FIG. 5, and therefore, explanation of Steps S104 to S112 will be omitted.

[0106] At Step S108, if it is determined that the stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range, the display control unit 123 determines, at Step S120, one image that is to be displayed by the display unit 15, in accordance the display position of the stereoscopic image with respect to the field of view of the user.

[0107] If the display position of the stereoscopic image is located on the left side with respect to the central direction of the field of view of the user, the display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display only the left-eye image (S124). In contrast, if the display position of the stereoscopic image is located on the right side with respect to the central direction of the field of view of the user, the display control unit 123 causes the display unit 15 to display only the right-eye image (S128).

3.* SECOND EMBODIMENT*

[0108] Thus, the first embodiment of the present disclosure has been described above. Next, a second embodiment of the present disclosure will be described. In the second embodiment of the present disclosure described below, whether a stereoscopic image is located outside of the predetermined range is determined when a trigger is detected based on sensing. For example, a predetermined user’s motion may be detected as a trigger.

[0109] According to the second embodiment, for example, it becomes possible to appropriately change a display format related to a stereoscopic image of a User Interface (UI), such as a clock or a menu, that is displayed in accordance with a trigger. When the UI as described above is to be displayed, it may be important that a user is able to view information more accurately (visibility) or a user is able to perform operation comfortably (operability), rather than enjoying impact, realism, or the like. Therefore, according to the second embodiment, when the stereoscopic image for which importance is given to the visibility or the operability, it is possible to improve the visibility or the operability while reducing a burden on a user. A configuration and operation of the second embodiment for achieving the above-described effects will be sequentially described in detail below.

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