EnChroma, a company in Berkeley, California, has created colorblindness correcting glasses, which allow those who are colorblind to see hues they may have never experienced before. While the sunglasses, which are meant for outdoor use in daylight, were first released two years ago, the company’s new version is made from polycarbonate — a material that’s kid-friendly and usable in sports.
At the back of the eye, there are three types of color-sensing cells, called cones, that respond to different parts of the spectrum of light: blue, green and red. The three overlap somewhat, but in the case of a red-green deficiency, the cones’ responses to green and red overlap too much. That causes the red and green cones to send the same, or almost the same, information to the brain, which then has difficulty discriminating between the colors. This confusion also leads the brain to mix up blended, muted colors that contain red or green, such as purple.
The proprietary lens contains a filter that blocks a portion of the spectrum where the overlap between the two cones occurs and restores the separation between them. “It’s essentially taking out that stuff that’s confusing the signal,” said Andy Schmeder, vice president of technology.
–Stephanie M. Lee
Read more at SFGate.com in her article: Glasses help color-blind see trees of green, red roses, too. Published in print Jan 1 2015.
EnChroma Launches Color Blindness Correcting Eyewear for Pediatrics, Sports and Prescription Markets
– Glasses Help Color Blind People See Colors to Overcome Career, Task and Activity Limitations –
Berkeley, CA – December 9, 2014 – EnChroma – the company bringing color to the color blind – today announced a new line of EnChroma Cx eyewear based on prescription-capable polycarbonate (plastic) lenses that enable color blind athletes, children and others to safely engage in any activity while seeing more color. EnChroma Cx glasses provide people with color vision deficiency (CVD) spectral color enhancement in a plastic lens that makes the eyewear a viable option for a huge new base of users.
While the exact reasoning behind the science is a bit complicated, they basically work by removing the wavelengths of light where overlap of red and green occur, causing the color signal to the brain to become amplified.
Read more on LifeBuzz.com.
Kelly Kittell’s EnChroma Cx Receptor colorblind-correcting sunglasses arrived with the following warning: When first trying on the lens, the unusual appearance of colors may be visually distracting. “It’s a bit of an understatement. The first time I saw brick red I was so overwhelmed I stopped cold. Purple and lavender, where have you been all my life? …
Unexpectedly, the glasses make me a safer driver. Colorblind people react significantly slower to red signals, and there are a number of countries where we can’t get drivers licenses. With my Enchroma sunglasses, I can see the three distinct colors of a stoplight for the first time, and red stop signs and lit brake lights jump out with a new urgency.
Read the full article at BoingBoing.net
Designers developed a mathematical model of how the brain processes color and determined how to accomplish the necessary digital spectral processing with a complex coating system. The coating consists of a stack of more than 100 layers of semi-reflective material.
From Optometry Times
EnChroma uses a mathematical formula to directly communicate with the brain’s visual system. This system is calculated to help a color-blind person observe the correct ratios the brain needs for normal color vision. The company uses over 100 reflective coatings at different opacities rather than a single tinted lens.
How EnChroma’s smart sunglasses can help solve color blindness
by Christina Farr for Venture Beat (Jan 2014)
The highlight came on Day 4 of my tests, when my kids discovered a rainbow arcing across the sky, pointing and exclaiming. I looked. With my own eyes, I could barely see it. Maybe there was a soft arc of yellow, but that was it.
Then I put on the glasses. Unbelievable! Now I saw two entire additional color bands, above and below the yellow arc. It was suddenly a complete rainbow. I don’t mind admitting, I felt a surge of emotion. It was like a peek into a world I knew existed, but had never been allowed to see.
Glasses That Solve Colorblindness, for a Big Price Tag
by David Pogue, New York Times (Aug 2013)