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Future Tech: New screens will let you ditch your reading glasses

Future Tech: New screens will let you ditch your reading glasses
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Imagine waking up in the morning and checking your Facebook page or the morning news headlines on your tablet without having to reach for your reading glasses. Or if you're nearsighted, you could watch TV from across the room with no need for glasses or contacts.

I'm not talking about laser surgery, I'm talking about something much more high-tech.

Researchers at MIT, UC Berkeley and Microsoft are developing screens that anticipate how impaired eyes will distort an image and automatically compensate to fix the picture on the screen.

The technology uses algorithms to alter an image based on a person’s glasses prescription together with a light filter set in front of the display. The algorithm alters the light from each individual pixel so that, when fed through a tiny hole in the plastic filter, rays of light reach the retina in a way that re-creates a sharp image. Researchers say the idea is to anticipate how your eyes will naturally distort whatever’s onscreen—something glasses or contacts typically correct—and adjust it beforehand so that what you see appears clear.

There are some limitations. For instance, right now the device would only work when your head and eyes are still. Also, the effect only works for one person at a time, but the researchers say both problems can be addressed in time.

So far, the scientists have only used Canon cameras and a prototype built out of an iPod Touch to test their theory, but they say they're ready to start working on a working model for human use. It still could be years before this type of technology will be available to the public.

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