Replicating Reality demos 3D virtual reality system powered by pixel-rich microdisplays

Kopin's a company known for diminutive displays destined for duty as electronic view finders in camcorders and digicams. At E3 this year, the company's subsidiary Forth Dimensions Displays has unveiled a new use for its teeny tiny screens -- virtual reality. Called Replicating Reality, it uses two .8-inch 1280 x 1024 LCD panels and head tracking to place you in a 3D virtual world. We got to test the system through a racing game, and found that it works pretty darn well. Graphics were of console quality, with nary a hint of image distortion from the system's magnification lenses and pixel pitch was imperceptible to our eyes. Basically, there was no indication that the screens our gaze was fixed upon were less than an inch across. The sharp picture combined with the system's head tracking -- which let us look around while taking turns and weaving through traffic -- to create quite an immersive experience. Of course, it still looked like a game, but there's a pixel packed 2048 x 1536 panel in the works that the company claims can deliver visuals nigh-indistinguishable from the real world. We were told that prototypes of these QXGA screens will be ready in ten months, and they'll be suitable for public consumption in a year. So, the real question is: will your eyeballs be prepared to handle such prodigious pixel density by then?