Konrad, Robert, PhD; Nitish Padmanaban, PhD; Kevin Boyle, PhD | Zinn Labs
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Award Year: 2021
With age, humans gradually lose the ability to focus to near distances. By their late 40s, most people struggle to view objects within arm’s reach clearly, making it difficult to read text on a smartphone or newspaper, for example. This normal reduction in the refocusing range is known as presbyopia and eventually affects everyone. Presbyopia affects close to 2 billion people today and is set to become more prevalent as the population ages. Though presbyopia can be managed using reading glasses, bifocal lenses, or progressives, none of these solutions restore natural vision. Zinn Labs creates a new presbyopia correction called autofocals, a pair of automatically refocusing eyeglasses that mimic the focusing ability that was lost. With seamlessly integrated eye-facing cameras and focus-tunable optics, autofocals detect where a user is looking and then automatically refocuses to that distance. Simply looking at an object pops it into focus.