These days, we spend hours in front of monitors and screens. In fact, it’s something that most of us don’t even notice anymore since it has become such an integral part of our everyday lives. We sit in front of our computer at work, constantly look at our smartphones throughout the day, and watch television for long periods at a time. This constant screen-time has been proven to cause eyestrain, and this is something that has harmful effects on our eyesight over time. Now many of us have to resort to wearing glasses or contact lenses just so we can see what’s on our screens – but what if we don’t have to?
A team of researchers from UC Berkeley and MIT are developing a computer screen that adjusts automatically to compensate for the viewer’s vision problems (see vision-correcting displays). It won’t be long now before your blurred or distorted view of text and images will be a thing of the past and you won’t have to put on glasses or contacts (or undergo corrective surgery) to finally get a clear look at what’s on your screen.
How does this technology work exactly?
This so-called vision-correcting display relies on computer algorithms that compute how the display will modify itself based on the viewer’s specific corrective lens prescription. What’s great about this technology is the fact that it is self-adjusting and non-intrusive.
For an individual with 20-20 vision, or indeed someone with any other prescription, the image on the screen may seem distorted. But for the individual with the visual impairment who the screen is catering to, the image would register as clear, sharp and vivid.
At the moment, the prototype consists of a kind of mask placed above the screen and looks like a very thick, but transparent glass screen protector. It is composed of tiny pinholes that are 75 micrometers in size and are spread throughout the panel and are arranged 390 micrometers apart from each other. The technology then controls how light passes through these pinholes, resulting in a sharp image for the targeted viewer.
It’s not perfect yet – there are still issues to deal with such as the fact that you’re the only one who’ll be able to see your screen clearly – but this is an exciting breakthrough that will transform how displays are made in the near future.