MIT’s research department working with the University of California at Berkeley has created digital display tech that can automatically compensate for vision problems, eliminating the need for glasses or contacts for specific uses like reading or viewing GPS navigation devices for far-sighted folks, among other potential uses.
The new display tech is actually a variation on glasses-free 3D, which works not by displaying different images to both the left and right eyes, but by sending slightly different images to different parts of each pupil, simulating an image that appears right where their sweet spot is in terms of focal distance. While the tech does mean a slight reduction in image resolution, it isn’t all that dramatic, though the use of a screen with pinholes designed to block light from hitting specific pats of the pupil mean that brightness is drastically reduced. Still, a viable solution to this problem already exists and could be implemented in commercial versions.
As for how this tech might be used, the MIT team that developed it images solutions for age-related vision loss, which generally takes the form of farsightedness – that means that if you can see far but can’t read up close, you could use a GPS unit with this kind of screen to avoid having to wear bifocals or varifocals, which come with their own downsides in terms of their effect on the wearer.
It’d be great to see this built into a Kindle, too, or other kind of tablet to potentially do away with the need for reading glasses or very slight bifocals altogether. I’m definitely going to need bifocals at some point, so here’s hoping our devices of the future are smart enough to eliminate the need for them altogether without any invasive surgery required.