How Smartphones Could Someday Correct Your Vision

MIT researchers develop 'vision correcting display'

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 18, 2014 5:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you're blind as a bat with Coke-bottle glasses, there may be hope for you—new research out of MIT could make it easier to read your tablet, smartphone, or eReader, LiveScience reports. Scientists there have developed a transparent "vision-correcting display" that goes on the screen of an electronic device and combines with a software program to correct for bad eyesight. The display makes a copy of the screen's image, but projects it at a distance at which the viewer can easily bring it into focus, MIT explains. Right now, adjustments are based on information about the viewer's specific vision problem that is entered by researchers; in the future, an optometrist's prescription could be plugged in directly, says MIT scientist Gordon Wetzstein.

The technology is aimed at people with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or those who have trouble with night vision or double vision. "Today, of course, we have contact lenses and surgery, but it’s all invasive in the sense that you either have to put something in your eye, wear something on your head, or undergo surgery. We have a different solution that basically puts the glasses on the display, rather than on your head," Wetzstein says. Someday, MIT's display could be used on odometers or GPS devices in cars. However, researchers caution, the new technology won't bring everything in your blurry world into focus—just the device in question. (Contact lens wearer? Be careful amoebas don't eat your eyeballs...)

In this Feb. 25, 2014 file photo, the new Samsung Galaxy S5 is displayed at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
In this Feb. 25, 2014 file photo, the new Samsung Galaxy S5 is displayed at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
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