New app helps colorblind people see colors

Whether you are a pilot on a color-coded taxiway, an electrician coding wires, or simply matching clothes, color perception is important to our everyday lives.

Now, for just $2.99, a new app may help colorblind people see what they have been missing.

Adam Baldwin's art is loaded with creativity, but there's one thing missing from his sketches: color.

Adam says, "My favorite colors? I like pencil."

Born colorblind, his condition has worsened overtime.

"Reds and greens are starting to mix together on me now, and I really don't understand how that's possible."

Dr. Richard Cohn, an ophthalmologist at Cohn Eye Center in Florida, says, “Patients can't see certain wavelengths of color usually because of a defect in the cones in the retina."

It is something computer security researcher Dan Kaminsky understands well, along with a concept called "augmented reality".

Dan says, "The idea behind augmented reality is you can take images and scenes that you would normally see and then overlay extra data."

His app, the “DanKam”, combines a smart phone’s camera with adjustable filters. They take subtler shades of red, green and blue and sharpen them, making them more visible. Each person can tweak the settings to fit his or her deficiency.

"You have to take reds and make them a little bit pinker and greens and make them a little bit bluer.”

For Adam, it sounded too good to be true.

He says, "I never believe in what I hear and only half of what I see."

His sight does not include shades of orange, blue, or hues in between, but when he put the "DanKam" to the test, shades he couldn’t spot before suddenly became clearer.
Adam baldwin

"I'm like a freakin’ kid. This is freakin’ awesome...I might actually put more colors in my drawings."

Kaminsky originally created the "DanKam" for a colorblind friend who couldn't see a green character in Star Trek.

The DanKam app is compatible with the iPhone and the Android.

Other providers like Blackberry, Microsoft and Nokia plan to release versions soon.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

ALL ABOUT COLORBLINDNESS: Color blindness means you have trouble seeing red, green, or blue or a mix of these colors. The term "color blind" is a bit of a misnomer because it's very rare that a person sees no color at all. Color blindness is also called a color vision deficiency. Most color vision problems are inherited and are present at birth. People usually have three types of cone cells in the eye. Each type senses either red, green, or blue light. You see color when your cone cells sense different amounts of these three basic colors. Inherited color blindness happens when you don't have one of these types of cone cells or they don't work right. You may not see one of these three basic colors, or you may see a different shade of that color or a different color. A color vision problem is not always inherited. In some cases, a person can have an acquired color vision problem caused by anything from aging or glaucoma, or may even happen as a side effect of some medicines. (SOURCE: WebMD)

A MALE THING? Roughly 10 million men in the U.S (7 percent of the male population) either cannot distinguish red from green, or see red and green differently from most people. This is the most common form of color blindness, but it affects only 0.4 percent of women. Many of the genes involved in color vision are on the X chromosome, making color blindness more common in males than in females because males have only one X chromosome, while females have two. (SOURCE: WebMD)

HOW THE "DAN KAM" CAME TO BE: Dan Kaminsky says that the inspiration for his year-long development project, the "DanKam," was a friend's problem. He decided to take on the project after learning his colleague couldn't see a green character in a Star Trek film. He began his research by experimenting with color space. It started with computing a true color (or the hue), the relative proportion of that color to every other color (saturation), and the overall difference from darkness for the color (value). The app uses the device's camera to augment a color blind person's perception of colors by enabling users to differentiate between tones, hues and colors that would normally be invisible to them. "DanKam" has a series of different modes such as converting all colors to red, showing only a few colors at once, increasing saturation or adjusting white balance. The user can play with the modes and sliders until they're able to capture the colors properly. (SOURCE: dankaminsky.com)

For More Information, Contact:

Gary Grasso
Public Relations
ggrasso@doctorspr.com


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