Abstract

A retroreflective screen composed of miniature corner cube reflectors (CCRs) or microbeads redirects an incident ray in the reverse direction. Recently the retroreflective screen was utilized as a key element in head-mounted projection displays (HMPDs). Most prior efforts in developing the HMPD technology have been focused on optimizing the optical design of the projection optics, neglecting the imaging artifacts caused by the screen. Few efforts have been attempted to analyze and evaluate the overall image quality of the HMPD system with the presence of a retroreflective screen. This paper first applies a ray-tracing method to examine the imaging properties of a single CCR. Through the combination of both the geometrical imaging effect and the diffraction effect, the imaging properties of a CCR-based retroreflective screen are analyzed and characterized. Based on these analytical results, the paper further evaluates how the imaging artifacts of a retroreflective screen degrade the spatial resolution of an HMPD system and limit the tolerance range of the distance from an HMPD user to the screen. Finally, a discussion is employed to illustrate potential techniques in minimizing the image quality degradation through the optimization of the corner cube size in a retroreflective screen.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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