Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Guided visualization technique for augmented or virtual reality systems

Technology #cu14344

One aspect of many augmented (AR) and virtual (VR) reality systems is a head unit, which must view a target object or location from a set of strategic viewpoints in order to process and communicate information to the user. Current head units, however, are overly specific and require the user to be in a tightly constrained six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) pose, which does not account for multiple viewpoints towards the target. This technology, called ParaFrustum, is a geometric construct that can represent these target objects and locations from multiple viewpoints. Instead of defining the acceptable viewing ranges and angles from specific points in space, ParaFrustum defines the acceptable parameters using volumes which allows the user’s head to be in multiple positions while still being able to communicate with the head unit. This tolerance of viewpoints provided by ParaFrustum allows for a quicker and more natural orientation within the system.

ParaFrustum can be used in a greater number of AR and VR tasks due to its fast and tolerant orientation of viewpoints

This technology greatly increases the ranges and angles from which a user can view an object using augmented or virtual reality systems. Previous visualization techniques define specific points in space from which the user must be oriented in order for the head unit to interpret and communicate information. ParaFrustum defines the allowed orientations not by points in space, but by a designated volume, which gives the user more flexibility in their position when looking at the desired object or location. This technique also does not require the entire targeted object to be within the display frustum (the region which is visible to the head unit), different than other methods in which this is necessary. In addition, ParaFrustum provides a wider range of constraints for the target volume, which allows this technology to be more specific than current methods.

This technology has been implemented into both AR and VR systems, showing that ParaFrustum can satisfy the constraints of a visualization technique with increased speed and tolerance of viewpoint compared to a conventional frustum.

Lead Inventor:

Steven K. Feiner, Ph.D.


  • Augmented reality systems for machine maintenance/repair applications
  • Augmented reality systems for gaming and social media
  • Augmented reality systems for medical training (e.g. surgery)
  • Augmented reality systems for military training
  • Rephotography applications – proper camera positioning for long-term photography projects from the same view
  • Vision software for robots
  • Military missile targeting/guiding software
  • Camera control and positioning
  • Heads up display (HUD) for augmented reality systems


  • Provides a wider range of viewpoints for the head unit to view a target
  • Increases the speed with which a user can assume a necessary view position in AR and VR systems
  • Higher tolerance regarding the range of viewpoints required by the AR or VR system
  • Provides an alternative 2D visualization for applications where only two dimensions are required
  • Allows for a more specific method of distinguishing the target object or location

Patent information:

Patent Pending

Tech Ventures Reference: IR CU14344

Related Publications: