- Spread color vision awareness to the general public.
- Provide resources for developers to implement daltonization into their applications.
- Discuss improvements for daltonization techniques.
- Develop an online color vision test to assess color blindness in individuals.
- Develop daltonization specific to the individual.
Daltonization is a process performed by the computer that allows people with color vision deficiencies to distinguish a range of detail they are otherwise excluded from perceiving. For instance, in the daltonization of an Ishihara test plate (a popular test of color vision) numbers emerge from a pattern that were once invisible to the color blind person.
A more accurate term for color blindness is color vision deficiency (CVD). Individuals have many different types and degrees of color blindness and it is extremely rare to be completely color blind. Depending on the study quoted, one out of twelve men and one out of two hundred women have CVD.
CVD impacts people in their daily lives from the mundane to the sublime: how to choose ripe fruit and how to coordinate clothing, to not being able to appreciate the nuances in an Impressionistic painting or to witness the change of seasons when leaves turn bright red and yellow. Certain jobs such as air traffic controller1 and railroad engineer2 are prohibited. Yet the condition is not considered debilitating and depending on the source quoted, many people with CVD say they do not miss what they never knew. Rather than being depressed, many claim that their vision gives them a different perspective on the world, a unique way of seeing that is just as rich as people with normal vision.3
Yet those people with CVD who have learned to compensate in navigating through the real world have no external clues to help them on a computer. According to one study, the average adult American spends eight and a half hours a day in front of some sort of screen, whether it’s a computer or television or mobile phone4. People with CVD miss an incalculable amount of visual detail, from not noticing hyperlinks, to not registering text that is highlighted, to not being able to decipher a range of graphic material from pie charts, bar graphs, line charts and tables, to not enjoying the spectrum of color in images and photographs and videos.
A cure for CVD may not be too far off considering that in 2009 researchers injected genes into the eyes of two color blind squirrel monkeys who now see green and red5. Optometrists can recommend tinted filters and contact lenses that may help an individual to better distinguish colors. And some people temporarily regain normal, if not mind blowing acute vision, through the use of psychedelics6 and inadvertent exposure to environmental toxins.
Until a cure happens, daltonization is an application that corrects CVD instantly on a computer screen. No animal testing is involved in its development and the goal of this website is to make it free and accessible to all people.
Photoshop/After Effects, utilizing the Pixel Bender language, can produce full screen daltonization in real time on the GPU. There is a quick tutorial on how to install this feature and use it at “Color Vision for Pixel Bender”.
Other applications exist to aid people with CVD, yet none have the advantage of automatically and instantly enhancing the vision of the user in real time. Eyepilot enables computer users with red-green color blindness to decipher color-coded maps and graphs by letting the user place a floating window on top of any picture to distinguish among the various color fields. The GNOME desktop environment provides users with the option to switch a color filter on and off choosing from a set of possible color transformations that displace the colors in order to disambiguate them.
Some video game designers are aware of that 8% of males and 0.5% of females have CVD and are at a disadvantage in distinguishing highly graphic material. The makers of Call of Duty: World at War and Ghost Recon have a “color code” button to change colors from red/green to orange/blue7. A network programmer for Guitar Hero8 says that there have been discussions in the art department about deciding upon a palette that is “color blind friendly” and yet still guarantee that the images reach the widest possible audience.
Daltonization of video games would be much easier to perform than having designers account for both CVD users and normal visioned people. To date, the algorithm has not yet been written to daltonize video games but this feature is quite possible in the near future. Imagine a world where daltonization is already performed by televisions, computers, or mobile devices, enabling the correction of every displayed frame in real-time based on a users’ personalized color-vision assessment. This dream can become a reality.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (from arstechnica)
a) normal vision (b) protanopia (c) daltonized for protanopia
In fact, the Color Blind Aid iphone app enables people with red-green color blindness to detect red and green in their environment in real-time, tell raw meat from cooked meat and see the world at large in hues they missed. It's a long way from perfection, but it's a start towards augmented reality for color blind individuals.
In the future, goggles could be fabricated that daltonize the real world. Users could wear powerful computers, no larger than a stuffed wallet, connected to unobtrusive displays that look like ordinary glasses, predicts Dr. Steven K. Feiner9, who heads a research group at Columbia’s Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Laboratory. He has developed a wearable multimedia computer that looks like mirrored ski goggles. The glasses reflect displays that deliver rich graphics and also let wearers see through them at the same time.
On the other end of the spectrum, goggles could work in reverse by allowing people to see through the eyes of someone in their life who perceives the world differently, a hummingbird, their favorite pet or their girlfriend.
This website hopes to bring together researches, developers, and other people from around the world in an effort to push forward daltonization technology. If you’re interested in contributing, let's talk. Join the community to push forwards development of daltonization technology!
Stay tuned for updates on daltonization research, resources, and software.
- Gideon Stocek of Neversoft