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Color My Web Sight

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2006
Sally B. Patterson

Increasingly, computers are used for educational and business presentations as well as for control of industrial and other processes, and color graphics are an important part of online displays. This can make it hard for the color-blind person to follow and act upon essential information. Because approximately 8 percent of males and 1 percent of females are color-blind, a significant population may experience such difficulties.

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Now Tenebraex Corp., a Boston-based company that develops optical products for the military, has come up with software that should make deciphering color-coded charts, maps and control panels much simpler, not just for the color-blind, but also for people with normal eyesight who regularly grapple with graphs and color-coded data.

The program, called eyePilot, is a drag-and-drop window that can be superimposed over any Web page. It offers a variety of tools that help distinguish material by color: It isolates a single color and turns the rest of the screen gray; it singles out all instances of a particular color and makes them flash; it makes all instances of a named color turn black; and it allows the user to change the hues of a graphic to help find a palette that is easier to differentiate. All the tools have magnifying functions to provide better detail.

Now the company is working on adapting the technology for cell phones that have a camera. Superimpose the crosshairs on an object, and the phone will tell you what color it is. This could assist people with everything from navigating subway maps to matching their socks.


GLOSSARY
camera
A light-tight box that receives light from an object or scene and focuses it to form an image on a light-sensitive material or a detector. The camera generally contains a lens of variable aperture and a shutter of variable speed to precisely control the exposure. In an electronic imaging system, the camera does not use chemical means to store the image, but takes advantage of the sensitivity of various detectors to different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. These sensors are transducers...
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