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Medical Minute 9-13: App Helps the Color Blind

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

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

"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," said Adam Baldwin, Colorblind.

"Patients can't see certain wavelengths of color usually because of a defect in the cones in the retina," said Richard Cohn, M.D., Ophthalmologist Cohn Eye Center Maitland, FL.

It's something computer security researcher Dan Kaminsky understands well. That, and a concept called "augmented reality"

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

His app -the Dan-Kam--combines a Smartphone'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.

"Never believe in what I hear and only half of what I see…"

Which doesn't include shades of orange ... Blue or hues in between. But when he put the "Dan-Kam" to the test.

"I'm like a freakin kid, this is freakin awesome."

Shades he couldn't spot before, suddenly became clearer.

"I might actually put more colors in my drawings."

Rights for Internet publication of this material must be authorized in writing by Ivanhoe Broadcast News. For more information, contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500, jcherry@ivanhoe.com.
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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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