Researchers are developing a new display technology that could let folks who wear glasses see a screen clearly without wearing their spectacles.

The technology uses your eyeglass prescription to adjust a filter in front of the display so that you see a sharp image even if you’re normally blind as a bat (or blinder, since bats aren’t actually blind).

prescription screens

Instead of using a lens right in front of your eyes to distort light, the idea is to distort it close to the screen so that folks with impaired eyesight can see a TV, laptop, or tablet screen without prescription lenses.

I imagine this sort of thing doesn’t make a lot of sense for folks like me who can’t see much of anything without glasses. While it’d let me plop down on the couch and watch TV or get some work done on a laptop, the moment I look away from the screen I’ll find myself surrounded by blurry shapes.

It’d also be useless if more than one person wants to look at the  same screen.

On the other hand, this could be awesome for people who only need reading glasses.

In fact… I wouldn’t mind using this tech in an eReader. Sometimes it can be hard to concentrate on a book when there are too many other distractions around: literally not being able to focus on anything else could make for an interesting, distraction-free reading experience.

The technology is currently at the early prototype stage: it could be a few years before you see actual screens based on the concept. Researchers at at the University of California, Berkeley, MIT, and Microsoft are working on the idea.



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11 replies on “Display tech could make eyeglasses unnecessary (when viewing a screen)”

      1. Heck yeah 🙁 What I saved on my screen I’ve blown on dioptric glass…

  1. Sounds like a heck of an idea if it would work. As it is I deal with monitors at varying heights, so much so that the narrow band of “two foot focus” on my regular multifocals is useless. Took the prescription paperwork and ordered single focus “PC glasses” cheap online. These work great, but it’s still a pain to swap glasses, I feel like Fred Sanford.

    1. So are mine. I can read the text I am writing now with my right eye, no problem, but cannot with my left eye, if I close my right. At longer distances, my left eye takes over, and I don’t see anything blurry unless I close my left eye.

      In other words, as long as you can see clearly with one eye, your brain will filter out the blurriness you see with the other, so this lens technology will work just fine even if you have a different prescription for each eye.

        1. I guess your mileage may vary. I’ve been using computers with imperfect eyesight and without corrective lenses for many years and have never found it a problem.

  2. “I imagine this sort of thing doesn’t make a lot of sense for
    folks like me who can’t see much of anything without glasses. While it’d
    let me plop down on the couch and watch TV or get some work done on a
    laptop, the moment I look away from the screen I’ll find myself
    surrounded by blurry shapes.”
    On the contrary I think this would be really cool. I’d love to see a big tv rectangle clearly with a background of blur all around it. Would be really cool I imagine.

  3. Since it depends on a head tracker it also appears to have the property of making a screen only viewable by a single person. Even if they have normal vision? (They say with higher dpi they could do multiple, but still spot beaming to them.) So you see a clear screen regardless of viewing angle and everyone else sees blurry unreadable text. Would make an interesting alternative to the 3M polarizing privacy filters that just narrow the viewing angle.

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