14 Apr 2012

Augmented Reality to fix color blindness?

As my friends can testify, I own more than one purple shirt because I originally thought they were navy blue when I bought them - yes, I am one of the 11% of men who are color blind.

I first discovered this at 4 years old when I argued vehemently with my teacher that I had indeed colored in my horse brown as instructed, and not bright red as she was insisting.

Mothers were called. Opticians were visited. Apologies were made to teachers. And now I have to talk to shop assistants every time I want to buy something!

But generally I am lucky, mine isn't so bad and I can't say I even think about it most days, which may sound strange to some of you, but if you don't know what you are missing then its hard to care. And who's to say that the way I see the world isn't better than your version anyway?

I have recently started playing with a new augmented reality app called DanKam that is trying to help people like me overcome the problem. I have been on a real augmented reality kick lately (see Will Augmented Reality Finally Get the Attention It Needs? to see why I think it will change your life forever) and now I am intrigued to contemplate how it may help overcome physical limitations such as this.

Now the app itself is cumbersome and I haven't quite got my head around it yet but the developer states that the many options are there whilst they work out what is really needed so we will look past all of that. In this screenshot the app is highlighting colors as I use the slider on the bottom - clearly the blue of the Union Jack flag is highlighted when I slide to blue on the bar.

The real point here though is that an app could make the way I see the world completely different, and then combined with augmented reality hardware, could make that new experience seamless. I am pretty damn excited about that!

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