Microsoft’s New Software Helps The Colorblind Distinguish Colors

Microsoft’s New Software Helps The Colorblind Distinguish Colors
Augmented & Virtual Reality

The Color Binoculars app augments hues to bring a new perception for difficult combinations

Yi Chen
  • 21 november 2016

A new iOS app has been designed to help the 300 million people who are affected by colorblindness worldwide. Color Binoculars is an app created by two Microsoft engineers, Tom Overton and Tingting Zhu as part of the company’s Garage program.

Color Binoculars acts as an augmented reality app and uses the phone camera to adjust hues in images so that colorblind people can distinguish between difficult color combinations such as red and green, and blue and yellow.

The app makes certain colors brighter and others darker so that the difference is more obvious. Thanks to the app, it allows people to differentiate between colors that they normally wouldn’t be able to single out.

The idea of Color Binoculars began as part of a Microsoft Hackathon in 2015. The project itself has been a personal one for Overton as he is colorblind himself and he’s also been the app’s main tester. He explained how now people could, for instance, find it easier to cook, match outfits, or decorate their homes.

The main motivation behind the app is that the duo wanted something that is readily available for free. “We read about special lenses that helped colorblind people distinguish colors,” says Zhu. “However, that’s expensive. So we thought, let’s code something on a phone for free.”

Currently, Color Binoculars is only available in the Apple Store and it’s unclear for now if it will also be available on Android or Windows.

Color Binoculars

+augmented reality app
+Color Binoculars
+iOS app

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