Mobile app acts as eyes for color blind

New Windows app allows users to distinguish different colors with the phone's camera.

November 16, 2011 20:02
1 minute read.
Texting cellphone 311

Texting cellphone 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Alexandra Mann writes for No Camels.

If you were asked to differentiate between hues of camel, mustard or beige you would probably have a hard time doing so - most people would. But for the color blind, telling the difference between blue and yellow can be impossible.

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Colorful, a new Windows phone application, says it can act as eyes for the color blind. The app enables users to distinguish colors with the use their phone’s camera – by using filters to change the color schemes and to fit the users color vision deficiency.

If you pointed your camera towards a bunch of apples, the app can tell you whether they are red, yellow or green apples. The app can also help distinguish colors in pictures on social networks like Facebook. Another feature is saving color “tags” for future use, for example, taking a picture of the user’s favorite shirt and saving its color as a tag so that next time the same color will appear in the camera or pictures the app will notify the user.

The app offers several options for color analysis: Standard – which shows the color names (blue, red or green); Extended – which analyzes the hue (maroon, navy and emerald); Artistic – which tries to relate colors to objects (chocolate, asparagus, strawberries.) The app can also analyze colors in printing terms, for example pink is #C76868.

The app was created by three Israeli students in computer science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Edan Bloch, Maayan Negbi and Achia Shaag.

Bloch decided to work on the app when he found out that color blindness is more prevalent than he imagined; between four to 10 percent of the population, mostly men, are affected.

The Colorful prototype won Microsoft’s WPAppItUp international student competition. The app is available for Windows Phone 7.5 users for $1.99.

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