Microsoft’s new app helps the colorblind get around colors

Color Binoculars

Microsoft has released a new app for 8 percent of the population who can’t distinguish between colors. Called Color Binoculars, the application is released for iOS-based devices through the Microsoft Garage.

“It’s an app that helps colorblind people distinguish color combinations that they would normally have trouble telling apart,” said Tom Overton, a Microsoft software engineer, one of the app makers who also happens to be colorblind. “For example, since I have difficulty distinguishing between red and green, our app makes reds brighter and greens darker so that the difference is more obvious. It replaces difficult color combinations, like red and green, with more easily distinguishable combinations, like pink and green.”

The application does its magic by using filters and the iPhone’s camera, which is objective, to see the differences between colors, if not the colors themselves. From there, Color Binoculars can help users pick out flowers, choose matching clothes, and/or tell the difference between colored alerts onscreen.

The app adapts to three different kinds of colorblindness, and has an on/off mechanism for the filters to compare what the world normally looks like vs. what the colorblind see.

Color Binoculars is available as a free download from Apple’s App Store.