glassesWouldn’t it be great if anyone who owned a smartphone, laptop, or tablet could clearly view the smaller screens without having to wear their eyeglasses or contact lenses? Well, new technology is currently under development that incorporates new advanced algorithms which will automatically compensate for the visual impairment issues of an individual user.

Brian Barsky is professor from UK Berkley, teaching classes in computer science, vision science, and optometry. Barsky, along with some of his Berkley colleagues, has recently teamed up with other researchers from MIT to design this vision-correction technology. If all goes according to plan, the combination of software and hardware improvements will result in automatic visual adjustments for both high-image resolution and contrast at the same time.

According to a recently published paper in the ACM Transactions on Graphics, the first signs of success came when Barsky’s team modified an iPod touchscreen by designing a standard light field display consisting of tiny pinholes spaced 390 micrometers apart and only 75 micrometers in diameter. The pinholes were then layered between two thin pieces of plastic, resulting in a screen display that enhances the visual image contrast while simultaneously providing a vast array of vibrant colors.

The next step was to adjust the light intensity seen through each of the pinholes by developing a rather complex algorithm which allowed for the image sharpness and resolution to be programmed into the device. Once the technology is perfected, individual users can program the visual display of their smartphones, tablets, and laptops based on their specific eyeglass prescription. The algorithm will take care of the rest, altering the image to fit the individual.

Approximately 75% of all Americans require some sort of corrective eyewear in order to properly read their computer screens. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are the more common types of visual impairments, but many people have more complex eye problems, including irregularities in the eye or cornea shape or surface, that currently cannot be corrected by simple eyeglasses. This new technology could transform the lives of millions of people around the world once it is completely developed.