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The short answer is: GPUs can overcome some, but not all aberrations. Let's look deeper into this question.
Optical aberrations are the result of imperfect optical systems. Every optical system is imperfect, though of course some imperfections are more noticeable than others. There are several key types of aberrations in HMD optics which take an image from a screen and pass it through viewing optics:
- Geometrical distortion, which we covered in a previous post would cause a square image to appear curved. The most common variants are pincushion distortion and barrel distortion.
- Color aberration. Optical systems impact different colors in different ways, as can be seen in a rainbow or when light passes through a prism. This results in color breakup where a white dot in the original screen breaks up into its primary colors when passing through the optical system.
- Spot size (also referred to as astigmatism), which shows how a tiny dot on the original screen appears through the optical system. Beyond the theoretical limits (diffraction limit), imperfect optical systems cause this tiny dot to appear as a blurred circle or ellipse. In essence, the optical system is unable to perfectly focus each point from the source screen. When the spot size becomes large enough, it blurs the distinction between adjacent pixels and can make viewing the image increasingly difficult.
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