What if computer screens corrected to your specific vision? It may happen sooner than you think!
The researchers at University California -Berkley are developing computer algorithms that compensate for an individual’s visual impairment, creating vision-correcting displays that enable users to see text and images clearly without wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. This technology could potentially help hundreds of millions of people who currently need corrective lenses to use their smart phones, tablets and computers. One group who would benefit greatly, for example, are those afflicted with presbyopia, a type of farsightedness in which the ability to focus on nearby objects is gradually diminished as the aging eyes’ lenses lose elasticity. You all know who I am talking about…. The people with the Walgreen’s reading glasses that they need to read a text, a phone number, an email, etc.
Perhaps more importantly, the displays could one day aid people with more complex visual problems, known as high order aberrations, which cannot be corrected by eyeglasses, said Brian Barsky, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and vision science, and affiliate professor of optometry.
“We now live in a world where displays are ubiquitous, and being able to interact with displays is taken for granted,” said Barsky, who is leading this project. “People with higher order aberrations often have irregularities in the shape of the cornea, and this irregular shape makes it very difficult to have a contact lens that will fit. In some cases, this can be a barrier to holding certain jobs because many workers need to look at a screen as part of their work. This research could transform their lives, and I am passionate about that potential.”
This latest approach improves upon earlier versions of vision-correcting displays that resulted in low-contrast images. The new display combines light field display optics with novel algorithms.
Huang, now a software engineer at Microsoft Corp. in Seattle, noted that the research prototype could easily be developed into a thin screen protector, and that continued improvements in eye-tracking technology would make it easier for the displays to adapt to the position of the user’s head position.
“In the future, we also hope to extend this application to multi-way correction on a shared display, so users with different visual problems can view the same screen and see a sharp image,” said Huang.
As more and more applications are being found for IPAD’s and Smart Phones are becoming much more common place, this is indeed a timely advancement.
The National Science Foundation helped support this work.