Researchers in the United States are developing technology that will enable screens to adjust to a users vision. By combining algorithms that finely tune light with a pinhole film that bends it, the scientists hope the screens could make eye glasses and contact lenses unnecessary for viewing a display. Ben Gruber reports
STORY: In this dark laboratory in Berkeley California, Professor Brian Barsky is testing a prototype that could potentially affect the majority of people on Earth. This camera and series of lenses is set up to simulate farsightedness in humans. If everything goes as planned, the screen at the far end of the table will adjust to compensate for the vision problem. Within seconds, everything comes into focus. Barsky, a professor of computer science and optometry, says the breakthrough came by thinking outside of the box...instead of corrective eyewear - why not design screens for handheld or computer devices that are programmed to adjust to a users vision problems. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN BARSKY, PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND OPTOMETRY, SAYING: "That is the concept. We are going to compensate for the particular aberration that are in the viewers eyes by modifying the image that is going to be displayed." To modify that image, the team have designed an algorithm, based on a viewers eye glass prescription, which alters the intensity of light each pixel of a display emits. That light is then filtered through a plastic cover dotted with tiny pinholes that bends the image so that it appears focused and sharp to the viewer. The scientists have already proven that they are able to make the display work for people with low order aberrations such as near and far sightedness, but Barsky says the technology could potentially change the lives of people with more complex high order aberrations, eye disorders that glasses can't correct. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN BARSKY, PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND OPTOMETRY, SAYING: "So if we can solve this for low order we are optimistic that we can solve it for high order. And what is so exciting there is the ability to solve a problem for an underserved population. We would give them a technology, a solution to their problem that they don't have." Barsky says there is still plenty of work to do to perfect the technology, but he says that a world where displays correct vision is slowly coming into focus.