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28 July, 2014 - 09:40 By News Desk

UEA technology helps the colour blind


People who suffer from colour blindness are expected to benefit from the trial of new UK technology.

Innovative startup Spectral Edge is working with Colour Blind Awareness, to trial its new image-enhancement technology, EyeTeq.

EyeTeq uses mathematical perception models to modify image colours so that colour blind observers enjoy improved visibility, whilst at the same time minimising the strength of the effect for those who do not have colour blindness, or ‘colour normals’.

Following a successful psychophysical study on a representative sample, Spectral Edge is now bringing EyeTeq into living rooms and applying it to mainstream TV content.

Spectral Edge will now be able to gather direct feedback on the experience for colour blind viewers as well as colour normals.

Expertise from Colour Blind Awareness will contribute to a successful trial and eventually result in consumer electronics companies delivering devices that are more colour blind friendly.

Kathryn Albany-Ward, founder of Colour Blind Awareness SAID: “The track record of Spectral Edge’s founders in image processing gives me confidence that they can really produce, refine and commercialise a technology that will improve the lives of colour blind people.” 

Colour blindness affects approximately one in 12 men and one in 200 women around the world. In the UK there are approximately 2.7 million colour blind people – about 4.5 per cent of the population.

Dr Robert Swann, chairman of Spectral Edge, said: “Colour Blind Awareness has done an excellent job of raising the profile of the condition in the UK and beyond. Their input to this important trial will ensure that we are testing the technology with the right people in the right way.”

Applicable to both still pictures and video, Eyeteq enhances images so that colour blind observers can see details they previously could not, transforming the experience of watching TV in particular. It does this without negatively affecting the picture for colour normals, enabling both to share the same screen.

An Eyeteq viewer app for iOS and Android will shortly be available for demonstration purposes. Trials using a set-top box with Eyeteq integrated are planned for the autumn. Results are expected in 6-9 months and will be made available to drive wider adoption of the technology.

Spectral Edge is a spin-out company of the Colour and Vision Group of the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich UK.

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