University researchers develop glasses-free display

Glasses, invented in 13th century, are now moving into TV and tablet displays

MIT's glasses-free display in smartphone

MIT's glasses-free display in smartphone

Fumbling around for your near-vision glasses to read the tablet screen? University researchers may have come up with a way to alleviate that problem.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley, have developed technology that could lead to displays automatically adjusting to a person's far-sighted or myopic impairments.

If the technology is used successfully, users won't need glasses or contact lenses for TVs, e-readers, tablets or other forms of electronic displays.

People spend more time looking at displays than ever before. The benefit of the research is that it in a sense puts glasses into the display itself, says Gordon Wetzstein, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab.

Glasses are generally worn because of an inability to view images or text at a certain distance and angle, and lenses adjust the light flowing into the eyes to correct vision. The researchers managed to use a 3D display to generate virtual images to adjust for distance and angle, thus reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Visual impairments may differ in left and right eyes; the researchers used a 3D display because it could project different images to each eye. Doing that and simultaneously tailoring pixels to display full-size images was a challenge, but researchers said a novel algorithm resolved the issue.

The research is a further evolution of the technology used for a glasses-free 3D projector, shown by MIT earlier in May.

Researchers used 3D display technology from MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture group.

Researchers will present a paper on the new display technology at the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver from Aug. 10 to 14.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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