New display tech fixes poor eyesight; Glasses and contacts not required

new display tech fixes poor eyesight glasses contacts required visioncorrecting1

Nearly everybody at some point in their life requires or will require some kind of vision correction, either in the form of glasses, contacts, or laser lens surgery. Corrective lenses, or glasses, have been around since the 13th century.

However, as more and more of us stare at computer screens for good portions of our lives, an increasing number of us require help with our vision.

Related: This 28-inch 4K monitor from Acer costs well under $1,000

Thankfully, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and MIT have come up with a different approach to tackling this problem by introducing display technology that can automatically correct for poor or lackluster eyesight.

Think of this as correctional lenses for your laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, or any other device with a screen. Someday, you may not need to wear corrective lenses to perform a lot of tasks when using something with a screen, like word processing, working in large spreadsheets, editing high-resolution photos, and more.

What are vision correcting Displays?

Often, visual defects are the result of our inability to focus at a specific distance, which distorts the image. What corrective lenses, glasses, and contact lenses do is predict how the user’s eyes will distort the image on the screen, and correct it so that it appears normal.

Related: Philips fires back at Acer by releasing an affordable 28-inch 4K monitor of its own

Combined with a light filter placed in front of the screen itself, the supporting software uses algorithms that “correct” the image based on the person’s corrective lens prescription. As each individual pixel passes through a small hole in the light filter, the algorithm modifies the light. As each beam of light hits the user’s retinas, it helps generate a clearer image for them.

Developed at UC Berkeley, the algorithm, in an image based on specific visual impairments, adjusts the intensity of the direction of light that emanates from each pixel.

“Our technique distorts the image such that, when the intended user looks at the screen, the image will appear sharp to that particular viewer,” Brian Barsky, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and vision science says. “But if someone else were to look at the image, it would look bad.”

In other words, a drawback to allowing your display to make corrections specific to your vision is that others who don’t have your vision problems will not be able to see the screen clearly.

Currently, it won’t work for multiple people with different vision needs when they’re viewing the display simultaneously either. Think of it this way: if you put on someone else’s glasses, everything would look weird, and your brain and eyes would probably start hurting in no time.

However, according to Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab who co-authored the paper on this research, displays with high enough resolutions could allow the screen to be used by more than one person at a time.

When will we see vision correcting displays?

The good news is that implementing this tech will not require all-new hardware.

The Berkeley team used an iPod Touch with a thin acrylic filter affixed over the screen. The filter was perforated with thousands of evenly spaced tiny holes for light to pass through.

This “light field display” was capable of controlling how light rays emanate from the screen. Thereby, with the aid of the software, it created a sharper image.

Samsung, LG, and a few other electronics giants are spending big time and money on such display research. So far this year, we’ve seen demos of borderless, foldable, and rollable plastic OLED displays. However, this vision-correcting technology is still a few years out.

It has some obstacles to overcome too, like the inability to work with multiple sets of eyes at the same time. Plus, at this point, the user has to stay in one position for the technology to work properly.

In any case, here’s just one more way computers can help us overcome handicaps and level the playing field sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

18 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up and plugged in while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 18 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding…

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy now.

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.

New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?