Vision Health

A Computer That Can "See" You

Someday, your computer may have “glasses” to help you see the screen – not the other way around, according to researchers developing the technology.

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, are developing computer models to compensate for a person’s visual impairment. When fully developed, these vision-correcting displays enable users to see words and pictures on a screen clearly without eyeglasses or contact lenses.

That could help hundreds of millions of people who now need corrective lenses for smartphones, tablets and computers. One common reason for needing these lenses is presbyopia, an age-related inability to focus on nearby objects.

The technology could also help people with more complicated vision problems, known as high order aberrations, said project leader 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 “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.”

The Berkeley researchers, along with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed a prototype in which a tiny printed pinhole screen is placed between two layers of clear plastic on an iPod display. The technology works by adjusting the amounts of light emanating from a single pixel on the screen; each screen would be tailored to its user’s vision problems.

The research team will present their technology at the International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, or SIGGRAPH, in Vancouver, Canada.

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