Vision-correcting displays

brian barsky

Professor Brian Barsky

Scientific American has selected research and development on vision-correcting displays by Professor Brian Barsky and collaborating researchers at Stanford University (Prof. Gordon Wetzstein) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as one of 2014’s ten “World Changing Ideas.”

The vision-correcting display makes two modifications to a standard high-resolution smartphone or tablet screen. The first is a low-cost, pinhole-covered printed transparency that covers the screen. The second modification involves algorithms coded into the smartphone or tablet that determine the viewer’s position relative to the screen and distort the projected image according to the user’s prescription. As the distorted image passes through the matrix of pinholes in the transparent screen cover, the hardware-software combination creates errors on the screen that cancel errors in the eye, thus delivering what appears to be a crisp image.

The screen can correct for myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and more complicated vision problems. Large-scale studies are needed to further refine the display.

Researchers also plan to develop a slider that would manually adjust the focus of the screen. The technology could be a boon for people in developing countries who have easier access to mobile devices than prescription eyewear.

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