In a collaborative effort, researchers from MIT, Berkeley and Microsoft have generated a computer display technology that could do away with the need for glasses in those with vision problems. The scientists describe their prototype in a recently published paper.
The technology uses algorithms based on an individual’s prescription to pre-alter the presented content for the observer. These are used in concert with a plastic light filter dotted with thousands of tiny holes that is placed in front of the display, for example a computer screen or tablet. The algorithms change the light from pixels in such a way that when the light rays pass through the filter, they hit the retina of the observer in a manner that re-creates a sharp image, MIT Technology Review explains.
According to the researchers, the idea is to predict how the eyes will naturally distort the image and produce an altered display that appears clear to the user.
For the study, the researchers displayed various images on an iPod Touch fitted with the plastic screen. They used algorithms to alter the images for various different eye conditions, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. They then tested the device with a DSLR camera in order to simulate these different conditions.
While two other vision-correcting computational display technologies have been developed over the past year, the prefiltering techniques used resulted in a dramatic loss in image contrast. This system, however, achieved significantly better contrast and resolution.
The researchers hope that, with necessary fine-tuning, this technology could eventually be used in a variety of devices such as phones, tablets and televisions. However, this will not realistically happen for a few years given the hurdles they have to overcome first. For example, users currently need to keep their head still while using the device, but a solution could be to add software that tracks head movement.
[Via MIT Technology Review]