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Colour-blindness help from augmented reality phone apps

Working on it only as a “secret side project”, Dan Kaminsky came up with the idea for his DanKam following a conversation with a co-worker about the latest Star Trek movie.

According to his blog, after a colleague mentioned his colour blindness, the conversation went something like this; “What did you think about the green girl?” He responds, with shock: “There was a green girl??? I thought she was just tan!”

Dan went on to create an augmented reality app that would parse what was seen by your phone’s camera, and tweak the colour hues so that a specific types of colour-blindness are able to see the differences between colour.

The app comes with several configurable filters for images and video that will make specific colours more visible.

Uses of the app seems to be very widespread, according to the feedback registered on both the developers own site and reviews for the apps. Applications have included differentiating clothes in shops; aiding web designers in their colour choices, even making sure that comic artists are able to colour their characters correctly. One of the favourite uses we’ve heard is the ability to differentiate between green and red LED lights on gadgets and PCs.

Trying it out on Ishihara test cards (those colour-blindness tests we had to look at in school) and you’ll notice it really works; raising the redness in vague brown shades, making those numbers stand out much more. For those with colour-blindness this far more pronounced, and they can now recognise the numbers.

The DanKam app is available on both iPhone and Android phones, which requires at least Eclair (2.1) to run.

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