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Microsoft's app helps the color blind distinguish one color from another

microsoft color binoculars app blndness
Microsoft has made a big push with its apps on all operating systems over the last year or so, and it looks like that’s only set to continue — in fact, it has just released an app to the Apple App Store that might not be very wide-reaching in terms of how many people use it, but it should be very useful for those who do.

The app is called Color Binoculars, and it essentially changes the colors of the phone’s display to make them more distinguishable for people with color blindness. You simply have to take a photo with the camera — for example of a bouquet of flowers — and the app will simply apply a filter to make colors easier to distinguish.

Color Binoculars was developed by two Microsoft engineers, one of whom is color blind, and development on it began during the Microsoft Hackathon in 2015. Later, it was finished in Microsoft’s Garage program, which is aimed at making experimental apps more public.

The app has switches for three different kinds of color-blindness — red/green, green/red, and blue/yellow — so most people who have color blindness should find the app helpful.

“It’s an app that helps color blind people distinguish color combinations that they would normally have trouble telling apart,” said Tom Overton, the engineer at Microsoft who also served as the app’s main tester due to his color blindness, in a blog post. “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.”

You can download the app for yourself from the Apple App Store.

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