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Glasses That Hack Around Colorblindness

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the except-for-yellow dept.

Input Devices 97

MatthewVD writes "In 2006, researcher Mark Changizi came up with a novel theory for why humans evolved with color vision: to detect social cues and emotions in others. He built glasses called 02Amps to enhance perception of blood pooling. Some hospitals have tried using the glasses to see bruising that's not visible unaided, or help nurses find veins. But it turns out now that the glasses might be able to fix some forms of colorblindness, too."

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waaaaste of technologyyy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792075)

Give me glasses that can see if you data molestors have pirated episodes of Glee on your computer towers.

Re:waaaaste of technologyyy (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792133)

Dan Glickman? 'Sat you!?

Last I heard, you were "totally not engaged" in quid pro quo with legislators! How ya been man? Good times we had when you were governor of my state....

So, you are working the "law enforcement" angle of the protection racket now? How's that working out for you?

I hacked - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792095)

I hacked your mom's ass last night.

Re:I hacked - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792149)

Since my mom is dead, that's just ... creepy.

Re:I hacked - (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#42796203)

We need to stop using Hacked all the time. It sounds really lame! and the jocks have the right to beat people up for people who over use the word.

Hacking is manipulating a system to do something it was intended to NOT do.
Aka hacking/cracking into a computer system you have manipulated the system that was designed to not give you access to give you access.
Hacking your iPhone so it jail broken, the phone was designed to prevent you from doing some features, you have found a way for them to give you access.

You cannot Hack Glasses meant for one thing and you find it works for something else too. You are just expanding its usefulness.

Re:I hacked - (2)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year ago | (#42796585)

Although you're correct when you say the glasses aren't hacked, your definition of that word is slightly wrong - just enough so to change the meaning of the word "hacked".

Hacking is manipulating a system to do something it was NOT intended to do.

Moving "not" two words to the left as I did changes it from "we focused on what our system can and cannot do" to "we only focused on what it *can* do."

Plus, you're misreading the summary title: it is the glasses that are, themselves, allegedly performing the hack, not the wearer/designer/producer thereof.

color blindness (3, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42792113)

Actually, most forms of color blindness is NOT due to a defect in the eye, but in the visual cortex. I learned about this in graphic design for my color theory class. When you look at a color for awhile, and then look at a white surface, the after-image will be a specific color. Whether you're color blind or not... that after-image coloring is the same. So red and green result in a different after-image color -- even if you're red/green colorblind.

Anyway, yes, having red/green perception does enable you to see subtle changes in skin tone, etc., but the idea of TSA agents wearing them is a bit frightening. This is the same agency that up until recently was irradiating its own clients, refusing to disclose the amount of radiation, and causing cancer to its employees. They also have been frisking children and grabbing people's balls... they're totally incompetent. I'd rather not give them special "x-ray glasses" so they can misuse those as well, saying they saw something nobody else could and that's why you're now getting a lubed finger in your private parts.

Other than that, Rock on. Good science.

Re:color blindness (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792237)

I thought red/green color blindness was associated with a defective gene for a photoreceptor protein, coded on the X chromosome. The defective gene produces an abnormal protein that responds to light in the "yellow" spectrum, causing the subject's retina to encode all red and yellow light as the same color.

Given that the gene does nothing to nerve function or distribution, perhaps the neurological effect is a result of neuroplasticity, resulting from the brain getting identical signals from different neural bundles in the eye? (Eg, eye does a LOT of signal encoding before it reaches the brain, so a loss of signal fidelity in the eye will result in a difference in higher level processing in the visual cortex, to make up for it. This could explain the retention of the after-image effects.)

Has there been a multidiscipline study conducted? As is, this data would seem in contradiction of the genetics implicated, and the existence of tetrachromatic females. If the difference was mostly neurological, and not the result of an ocular anomaly, then tetrachromats should not exist.

Re:color blindness (5, Informative)

DrScott (4365) | about a year ago | (#42792499)

Hereditary color "blindness" (which can run the gamut from a mild color deficiency to severe color perceptual loss) is most commonly due to defects in the photochemicals in the cone photoreceptors. The milder forms involve shifts in the wavelength that the pigment absorbs the most. The more severe forms involve the functional loss of one photopigment. These disorders are genetic in nature. However, there are also acquired cases of color blindness caused by neuronal damage that is post-receptor, such as in optic nerve disease. Less common is color blindness due to cortical damage, such as achromatopsia.

Re:color blindness (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792753)

There are two different types of red-green color blidness, basically resulting from the lack of functional red or green cones. Both red and green cones are sensitive to red and green, but in different amounts. Missing one type (or having a very low count of active cones of one type) won't make you blind to that color (i.e., objects painted with that color won't appear as black), it will just make you unable to distinguish reliably between the two hues.

That's why color-blind "simulations" typically show yellow (because it's what you get by mixing red and green). In reality, most color blind people see in red-blue or green-blue (in terms of signal) - though both red and green overlap onto yellow and even onto each other at cone level. What those people call it internally (red, orange, yellow, green) is up to them; mostly they'll try to figure out (from experience) what a trichromat would see, and they'll call it that.

If you look at a cone spectral sensitivity curve, it should be pretty obvious. The brain only gets three signals, but each signal is actually reporting a wide range of frequencies, and they all overlap to some extent.

The OP is wrong, BTW. Color blindness is due to defects in the eye, causing one or more foveal cone types to be missing or inactive.

The after image effect he mentions is from a study that showed that partially color-blind people (generally termed "color weak") can sometimes distinguish the hue of after-images better than they distinguish the hue of the original image. In some cases, this means people who are just (very) color-weak can be classified as color-blind by basic Ishihara tests. That's where the visual cortex plays a role (by making some hues more "relevant" than others). It doesn't change anything about the actual eye defects.

Re: color blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829031)

You know a lot more about this than I, however as a colorblind person I have always referenced a very simple explanation from my high school science teacher. The retina has rods and cones. Rods are receptors of black and white light and related shades. Cones are receptors of colors. Colorblind people simply have less "cones" in their retina than people who are not colorblind. Therefor we colorblind do not receive the same quantity of info on colors, and our perception of them can be less accurate. Makes sense. If my nose had less smell receptors than other people, I probably could not correctly identify all smells the way other people could. I impress myself and other people by correctly identifying 90% of color challenges they give me. Then when I fail a challenge, they're blown away. Wow, you think that's blue?! Been doing this for 30 yrs, no big deal. I should apply for a handicapped placard for my car :).

Spectral shift (1, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year ago | (#42792791)

If I understand it correctly, the defective sensor is sensitive at a spectral peak that is different from the value in normal individuals. It is through mutations to this sensor that color vision evolves. Theoretically, some rare women have four operative spectral bands rather than three.

Re:Spectral shift (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42793123)

Not theoretical. Empirically observed.

The mechanism at work is known as "favored X". Essentially, any given cell in a woman's body will favor expression of one or the other of her X chromosomes. This includes retinal tissues. Women who are carriers of red-green colorblindness will have a nearly random distribution of cone cells that favor expression of the defective receptor protein, resulting in tetrachromatic vision. However, since the mutation is recessive, the distribution is usually not that high, meaning being female, and carrying the mutation does not garantee tetracromacy.

relavent wikipedia page, which has some citations. [wikipedia.org]

Re:color blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42798159)

Your theory is not helpful to our marketing efforts.

The manufacturer.

Re:color blindness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792419)

Calm down dude. These are X-Ray specs, like the ones they sold alongside the sea-monkeys, etc., in old comic books.

Unless the lenses actually absorb incoming photons at one wavelength, and re-emit them in real-time at a different wavelength, (but with the same phasing and same incident direction with respect to the surface - or somehow magically increase the intensity of the light, without an external input of energy, or absorb some wavelengths and use the energy to boost the energy of the transmitted wavelengths, increasing the intensity of the E-field, the H-field, or both, or alter the polarization, or some combination of the above...

then these things are what they appear to be, filters. All that does is attenuate, block (by absorption,) reflect or refract some part of the incoming spectrum. Nothing to be scared of. Put the tinfoil down, this won't make them magically more able to see than any of those "HD" sunglasses magically do anything that regular old tinted lenses didn't do. This is snake oil congealed into a polycarbonate at its finest.

Regardless of whether the colorblind have a defect in the cone cells, rod cells, after them in the eye, (optic nerve) or the problem is in the brain (which makes no fucking sense...) it doesn't matter. If some part of your vision sense is not sensitive to... (does not respond at all to...) let's say 715nm, and you're looking at something that absorbs all other wavelengths of the visible spectrum BUT 715nm, and your light source is ideal and monochromatic, generating only 715nm wavelength EMR, the light-source will appear NOT to be giving off any light, and the object you're looking at will appear basically like black velvet.

There is an instance of this actually being the case. The human cornea is apparently UV reflective or at least blocking. People who have had cataract surgery can see UV, (which is why they're always wearing those wraparound smoke-colored lenses when outside apparently,) while the rest of us cannot. In pitch-blackness, when one of us younger people can't see, if there were a (pure, non-purple light generating) UV lamp, and an old person who's had the surgery were there, he or she would be able to see fine by that light, whereas the rest of us would be completely blind and helpless.

Thank-You: You've answered something for me... apk (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792473)

"Anyway, yes, having red/green perception does enable you to see subtle changes in skin tone, etc" - by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday February 04, @07:44PM (#42792113)

I have this condition (red/green colorblindness) - So, per my subject-line though - & what I meant about that:

I've always wondered why I could tell folks were about to get very ill (if not die), because their skintone changes, to me @ least, and RADICALLY, when it happens (also when they're about ready to "kick-the-bucket" too) - I've never been wrong about it either.

In fact, sadly for me - I saw it right before my grandma passed... It was SO apparent to me with her, & so much so, I couldn't bear to look directly @ her!

She called me to come drive to her home, many miles from mine, just to toss out her trash, which was only a 15 yards perhaps from her front door...

She needed me to since she was VERY "out-of-it" from having her carotid artery & jugular veins clotted so much, she wasn't getting enough blood to her brain - she described it as what you feel like when you're ready to pass out as best she could to me (& they were afraid to operate to clear it because of her age, 94)...

This occurred in 2007 perhaps a week before her death.

I more recently in 2012, also with a tenant of mine recently (who was quite ill & getting worse, and did, due to various things)...

I am not joking about this either. It actually scares me. It's like seeing the 'grim reaper' coming around...

Anyhow/anyways: I can't explain it any other way. It'd be like trying to teach a blind man to see the color orange...

However, on a lighter note: Color-Blindness is useful also is used by the military, since camoflage cannot deceive folks with my type of vision... which also, oddly, messes us up on NORMAL "lantern tests" for color-vision, but also allows us to see that which those with normal color vision, cannot (there are lantern tests for that as well).


P.S.=> And, there you are - Thank-you for your knowing that (I am assuming it IS truth, because of the things I've noted above)... apk

Re:Thank-You: You've answered something for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792721)

I know how you feel man :(
Sometimes life is less than subtle about these things.
I saw a friend after he drowned. It's really messed up when you are used to seeing someone, then all of a sudden they are a completely different color.

Re:Thank-You: You've answered something for me... (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#42795227)

Just looked at those glasses and thought, those would be nice to have playing poker (live) - and reading your post it did made me wonder, how good are you at picking up changes in peoples blood flow?

Re:Thank-You: You've answered something for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42797079)

If you look at their website they list lenses made specifically for poker as in development.

Re:Thank-You: You've answered something for me... (1)

Thiez (1281866) | about a year ago | (#42795247)

They should employ you at a hospital to sort out the Münchausen people :p

Re:color blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792515)

Colorblind IS most commonly due to a defect in the eye, in particular due to a defect in photoreceptor function. There are other types of colorblindness BUT they are far less common. There's a bucket load of research around this, a lot of which I've read.

Re:color blindness (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42792593)

No citation? I'm with wierd_w here, I learned the same thing he's learned. If the problem were in the cortex, some of my own observations would be invalid.

I can pick up something, and it looks black, or blue, or whatever, depending on it's actual color. Carrying that item out into bright sunlight can sometimes reveal that it's some kind of purple. The sunlight doesn't help me to actually say what color it is, only that there is red in it.

While still in high school, I bought a very shiny black car. My Mama said it wasn't black, but maroon. I had that car for more than a week, before a bright sunshiny day allowed me to see the red. Apparently, the brain can process the red and the green, if the eyes are supplied with enough of it.

Of course, those are just personal observations, with no "science" behind them.

Re:color blindness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792667)

Actually, most forms of color blindness is NOT due to a defect in the eye, but in the visual cortex. I learned about this in graphic design for my color theory class.

That seems like a very poor use of the word "learned". Most forms of color blindess (ie, the ones that affect >96% of color-blind people) are due to defects in the eye (missing or inactive cones).

Your teacher was probably extrapolating / misquoting the Taylor study where about 40% of people classified as color-blind by basic Ishihara tests were "upgraded" to "color-weak" due to their ability to distinguish some color in after-images. The remaining 60% were confirmed as color-blind. This was a study with just 20 people, anyway, and most "color blind" people are actually just color-weak (i.e., reduced number of cones of one type, but not complete absence). It's still very much due to defects in the eye.

If you want to learn about biology and genetic defects, maybe your graphic design teacher isn't the ideal source. Just sayin'.

Re:color blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42793187)

You seem to have a habit of being confidently wrong...

Re:color blindness (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#42793343)

and causing cancer to its employees

Lets not go overboard here, theres a substantial difference between "excessive radiation exposure" and "caused cancer".

Maybe hyperbole is your thing (it appears to be), but it really just brings the level of the discussion down about 3 notches.

Re:color blindness (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about a year ago | (#42794537)

So what it's a defect in the visual cortex, not in the eye. The glasses can process image so that red surfaces have diagonal stripes and green ones are dotted. That's how we use "color" on black and white charts for example.

Re:color blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796885)

Actually, most forms of color blindness is NOT due to a defect in the eye, but in the visual cortex. I learned about this in graphic design for my color theory class. When you look at a color for awhile, and then look at a white surface, the after-image will be a specific color.

What you learned in color theory class was correct, but notice that if you stare at a blue object, the afterinage will be a shade of orange, the color's compliment. The visual cortex tries to accomodate for this, but you're jumping to conclusions thinking that this is the cause of color deficiency.

Color vision uses the retina's "cones" and different sized cones pick up different wavelengths (colors) of light. Those who are color blind lack certain sizes of cones, it's strictly genetic (My dad and one of his three brothers have this).

I think wikipedia may have steered you wrong, saying "Color blindness can also be produced by physical or chemical damage to the eye, the optic nerve, or parts of the brain. For example, people with achromatopsia suffer from a completely different disorder, but are nevertheless unable to see colors." These glasses likely wouldn't help those folks. But here's what it says about red-green color blindness (10% of males suffer from it):

The most usual cause is a fault in the development of one or more sets of retinal cones that perceive color in light and transmit that information to the optic nerve. This type of color blindness is usually a sex-linked condition. The genes that produce photopigments are carried on the X chromosome; if some of these genes are missing or damaged, color blindness will be expressed in males with a higher probability than in females because males only have one X chromosome (in females, a functional gene on only one of the two X chromosomes is sufficient to yield the needed photopigments).[2]

WebMD says

Most color vision problems are inherited (genetic) 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. Most cone cells are found in the macula, which is the central part of the retina.

See a picture of the eye that shows the retina and the macula.

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. This type of color vision problem doesn't change over time.

(mcgrew here, can't log in on this workstation)

Colorblindness? (4, Informative)

supersat (639745) | about a year ago | (#42792117)

There's an app for that: http://dankaminsky.com/2010/12/15/dankam/ [dankaminsky.com]

Re:Colorblindness? (3, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42792267)

There's an app for that: http://dankaminsky.com/2010/12/15/dankam/ [dankaminsky.com]

Mod+1 UP! 'Dankam' has been a godsend for many people with imperfect color vision.

I knew a guy who tested with a great aptitude for electronics, but near the end of the course realized he couldn't differentiate between the different color coded wires, instead he got work in home improvement field. This app maybe would've allowed him to pursue that electronics career.

Re:Colorblindness? (1)

Nationless (2123580) | about a year ago | (#42793683)

That is actually really interesting. In addition imagine the potential of having similar software on the google glasses or any other head mounted display giving you visual feedback on objects you may not be able to clearly see in real time.

Re:Colorblindness? (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | about a year ago | (#42794165)

Can these glasses give me tetrachromacy so I can tell what my wife is talking about when I have to discuss what color we paint the living room?

Re:Colorblindness? (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#42795681)

There is another well tested and safe procedure for discussions with the significant other on the subject of colors schemes. It is called the "yes dear" or sometimes the "of course you are right dear" response. It should not be used indiscriminately though, because it can get very dangerous if used as a "does this dress make me look fat" response.

Re:Colorblindness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802155)

Tetrachromacy has not been confirmed in humans. Also, seeing more color distinctions will not help you select colors with your wife. It would make the process even harder.

Re:Colorblindness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42803367)

And a Chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-daltonize/efeladnkafmoofnbagdbfaieabmejfcf

Fuck that (2)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year ago | (#42792123)

From TFA:

The eyewear is also potentially useful for police and security officers– imagine if a TSA agent could more easily perceive nervousness

Yeah, we totally need more low-paid half-trained monkeys jumping on people at the slightest sign of a natural response to said monkeys.

Yarp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792195)

My uncle got pulled over at an airport and detained for a good half hour because he 'looked nervous'. Well, yeah, it was the first time he'd ever flown.

Didn't feel much safer thinking that if there were any terrorists trying to get on his plane they were now quite free to walk through while the security agents dealt with him.

Re:Yarp (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42794231)

My uncle got pulled over at an airport and detained for a good half hour because he 'looked nervous'. Well, yeah, it was the first time he'd ever flown.

Didn't feel much safer thinking that if there were any terrorists trying to get on his plane they were now quite free to walk through while the security agents dealt with him.

A good security guard would easily be able to tell the difference between someone anxious because of flying, or of large crowds, etc. Unfortunately from what i've heard they don't employ many of those.

Ooh.. (1)

platypusfriend (1956218) | about a year ago | (#42792145)

I could buy a pair of these to see when I make women blush with attracti--- No, wait... lenses are purple. Abort.

Re:Ooh.. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792169)

Appropriate styling can make purple lenses attractive, assuming a subset of supporting aesthetic features in the subject. Usually requires a dark hair color. Red hair clashes terribly with purple, for instance.

From your response, I take it that you are one of those people that just plain look bad when wearing purple?

Re:Ooh.. (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#42792229)

Appropriate styling can make purple lenses attractive, assuming a subset of supporting aesthetic features in the subject. Usually requires a dark hair color. Red hair clashes terribly with purple, for instance.

From your response, I take it that you are one of those people that just plain look bad when wearing purple?

Heh. Well, most things go well when paired with other things they match with.

Realistically though, purple glasses are going to be more-or-less unattractive, based solely on the fact that they're outside of the norm.

Re:Ooh.. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792297)

Purple lenses used to be quite common in the early 19th century, due to the primary decolorant used in glasswear being manganese. As a consequence, many styles appeared to use that color to accentuate rather than distract from features of the wearer, and many were quite attractive.

Not that I am suggesting people wear 19th century styles, just pointing out a possible wealth of subject matter from which to draw inspiration and ideas on how to overcome the issue with purple tinted lenses in security workers, doctors, and casino staff, if not just the ordinary public.

Re:Ooh.. (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year ago | (#42792607)

"Outside of the norm" isn't synonymous with unattractive. In fact, it's been suggested that people with less-conventional features provoke more varied and extreme reactions [okcupid.com], including both repulsion and extreme attraction.

Re:Ooh.. (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#42795033)

"Outside of the norm" isn't synonymous with unattractive. In fact, it's been suggested that people with less-conventional features provoke more varied and extreme reactions [okcupid.com], including both repulsion and extreme attraction.

Sure, your article proves your point and mine. Since it validates both claims, do you think it is worthwhile for either?

Realistically, there is a universal set for beautiful faces. Symmetry, 0.7 waist/hip ratio, accented cheekbones, eyes and diminished chin. And since we're discussing beauty, which many people believe to be subjective, you'll find just as many opinion pieces backed up by "science" as you will legitimate studies.

Re:Ooh.. (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year ago | (#42805359)

Sure, your article proves your point and mine. Since it validates both claims, do you think it is worthwhile for either?

Then perhaps your earlier point was inartfully put; you said that anyone wearing purple glasses was likely to be "more-or-less unattractive" simply by virtue of being outside of the norm. Putting aside questions of the percentage of people superficial enough to be swayed by something as minor as the color of someone's glasses, the article I linked suggested that people "outside the norm" -- where "norm" here, presumably, means inoffensive, unremarkable, and vaguely attractive features -- aren't "unattractive" so much as not universally found attractive, BUT considered significantly more attractive than the norm by those who DO find them attractive. In other words, I don't think it would be fair to say at all that someone outside of the norm would automatically be considered "unattractive." It would be far more accurate to say that that person would likely get more attention, both positive and negative. "Less" attractive, even, MAYBE, if you consider attractiveness a quantifiable feature derived from averages (I don't, but YMMV).

Anyway, my point wasn't to suggest that anyone is *actually* more or less attractive than anyone else, because, as you note, attractiveness is considered to be subjective (I tend to agree, personally; finding that certain things like symmetry and defined cheekbones tend to be considered attractive by most people doesn't by itself prove anything, and the existence of outliers -- i.e., individuals who do not find such features attractive -- itself means the term "universal" is technically inaccurate). I'm honestly not sure what your point is about opinion pieces backed up by "science." I'm not offering an "opinion" here, just an observation that your use of the word "unattractive" in reference to someone wearing purple glasses was not the most descriptively accurate choice.

Re:Ooh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792193)

On a more practical note, they mentioned on their website that they've been testing them among pro poker players to help them pick up on emotional response. That one is intriguing.

Not a cure (5, Informative)

Avidiax (827422) | about a year ago | (#42792159)

These glasses don't cure colorblindness at all. They allow some colorblind people to pass some color-blindness tests by making them literally blind to certain colors (by filtering them with the lenses). The article mentioned that a person shouldn't drive with one version of these glasses because they'd be unable to see a yellow traffic light.

These glasses are interesting for other reasons, but they are not a practical cure for color blindness.

Re:Not a cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792761)

Nobody ever sees the yellow traffic light. The yellow traffic light is a joke! Also, if you know you can't see the yellow traffic light, you know the rest.

Re:Not a cure (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#42795383)

Not a cure, but a work-around. However, definitely not "news for nerds" - as I remember my mum telling me about something like this well over a decade ago.

Back then, some guy had "invented" putting a pale filter in front of one eye in order to give slightly different images to each eye, such that reds were darker in one than the other, thus permitting anomolous dichromats such as my self to distinguish red from green. "Duh! Like I used to do with Quality Street wrappers 20 years ago?" I replied.

Re:Not a cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42797515)

The article mentioned that a person shouldn't drive with one version of these glasses because they'd be unable to see a yellow traffic light.

Notice that it didn't say, "I couldn't see yellow traffic lights." People offering speculation about what something might look like to another person is 100% useless information. As a colorblind person there's not much more aggravating than ignoramuses pontificating about what I can and cannot see.

Re:Not a cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801937)

These glasses don't cure colorblindness at all. They allow some colorblind people to pass some color-blindness tests by making them literally blind to certain colors (by filtering them with the lenses). The article mentioned that a person shouldn't drive with one version of these glasses because they'd be unable to see a yellow traffic light. These glasses are interesting for other reasons, but they are not a practical cure for color blindness.

Wouldn't this work better if only one eye had a color filter? As someone with a red-green color-blind father and nephew I've always wondered if a filter could help them see another dimension of color. Right now, I'd just like to have something that would let my nephew read resister colors. He loves electronics, but can't see the colors. Actually, we're pretty funny together. I can't see the fine details and he can't see subtle colors differences, but together we cover everything we need, without me having to use reading glasses.

Wow. They invented colour filters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792191)

Wow. So you're telling me by shifting the colour, changing contrast etc. as has been done for many years in many different applications from astronomical filters to Photoshop, you're able to have some colours stand out so that colour blind people can see them? I'm amazed I tell you.

I propose a new invention. I call it cellophane. It's very expensive though. I can sell you an A4 sheet for $200.

Hell there are even glasses that use colour and contrast to assist dyslexics, and they've been around for decades.

Survival of the fittest, not planned improvement. (1)

slash_oj (2810203) | about a year ago | (#42792225)

I might be knit-picking here, but the OP references that the reason why humans evolved...[was] to detect social cues as though an organism chooses to change or passes on traits for a specific purpose, which isn't actually the theory of evolution, it's Lamarkism [wikipedia.org]. When you evolve, that just means that other organisms who didn't have the traits that you had died off in larger numbers due to a reduced ability to survive before passing on their genes to the next generation (ie, you are the fittest, so you survive, hence "survival-of-the-fittest").

Good stuff, otherwise. :)

Re:Survival of the fittest, not planned improvemen (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#42793213)

Really, ascribing an intent to evolution is just anthropomorphism in speech. The same way we might say that lightning seeks the shortest path to ground as if it has volition. Lamarkism doesn't posit a volitional passing of traits at all. It simply suggests that acquired traits can be passed on.

Re:Survival of the fittest, not planned improvemen (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | about a year ago | (#42793695)

I'm just curious why this guy thinks humans started without color vision. Does he have proof of this change or is he just assuming that it is right purely because he cannot disprove it? Sometimes it is better to just admit we don't know why something is the way it is and do real science to figure it out, rather than spouting off nonsense.

Social Cues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792263)

I've never heard of anyone claiming we see color to detect social cues. However there is evidence we see colors to better pick which fruits to eat. This evidence includes women who see more shades or red, thus letting them pick better berries while the men were out hunting.

On the male side, colors let you better pick out animals trying to blend in with their surroundings.

For both sexes, redder areas engorged with blood help indicate arousal and/or sexual readiness. People breeding during these times will have a higher chance of offspring thus those offspring will eventually be better at picking out these colors. I don't know if they don't count that as social cues or not.

I really don't see how knowing if someone is blushing or increases the chances of having offspring. Anyone able to explain? Maybe avoid angry red faced people because they're going to kill you? Do we have increased blood flow to the face to show this info or is the blood flow there to provide the brain with more 02?

Re:Social Cues? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42792651)

More males are colour blind than females.

Looking other primates, new world monkey males are mostly colour blind, with the exception of a few specifies. However, most species females sometimes carry genes that give them colour vision.

Colour vision is less effective in low light. If you have colour vision it is easier to pick out colourful, ripe fruit, if you're colour blind its easier to pick out fruit the same colour as the leaves around it. If you're in a group of your peers and some are colour blind and some are not, you've got the best of both.

Don't apes have colour vision ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#42792269)

The theory that we evolved colour vision to see our friends blush would imply that our close cousins (apes -- who generally seem to have black faces) do not have colour vision, but they do [wikipedia.org].

Re:Don't apes have colour vision ? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42793535)

Why would it imply that? Two paths can lead to the same place in evolution. Aside from that the human-ape split was a genetic mess over a large period of time.

Ethnicity and tropical countries (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#42793581)

How about ethnicity in tropical countries and blushing? I come from Europe and don't meet dark colored people very often so I'm not sure if I'm way off. But can you really see a very dark colored person blush? If not and if humans evolved in Africa, blushing may be a really weak cause for retaining something as complex as color vision. And as most of our non-human relatives have color vision the theory has lost all credibility.

Re:Don't apes have colour vision ? (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | about a year ago | (#42795509)

I don't subscribe to Changizi's theory, but that objection doesn't really work. Apes do not have infinitely dark faces where no changes in colour can be distinguished. It's not necessarily all about the face anyway. I happened to have Changizi's book on the shelf next to me and he does address this... sort of.

Colorblind network engineer is intrigued (1)

blackanvil (1147329) | about a year ago | (#42792327)

Having had much difficulty when making new ethernet cables -- to me there is no real difference between the green and brown wires -- I'm definitely interested, but at nearly $300 for a pair, I'm not sure I'm ready to just buy a set to see if it helps.

that ugly cat5 pastel crap (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about a year ago | (#42792609)

I *never* had problem with cat3. But there are some makers of cat5 that use this annoying kinda shimery colors on their cables that make it damned hard to see brown vs. green in low light conditions (eg, when you're hunched over a wall plate, and you're blocking the ceiling light from shining in).

I just carried a flashlight. The other solution would be to buy from those who don't use those ugly pastel shades on their cables. (if the saturated stuff still exists; I now work in a place where we're not allowed to pull & terminate our own cables, so I only do it when helping friends every couple of years or so)

Re:Colorblind network engineer is intrigued (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#42795517)

If you can't tell the green and brown wires apart in a cat5 cable, then you are probably fully color blind (-anopia). These glasses only work for partially color blind (-anomaly) eyes. The latter is what I have, in that I can't tell certain shades of brown apart. (I had a "paint pots test" when I was 16 or so, where you have a bunch of black cylinder blocks with a colored circle on top, and arrange them in order of which colors are most similar. With normal color vision you arange them in a circle. I made a figure eight.)

I'm colorblind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792333)

I'm colorblind, a fact that I didn't realize until high school. One day I was flipping through my science book and came across the Ishihara color tests - the ones with the dots that show numbers.

So far as I can tell, there are only two areas of my life that are really affected: the first, and the most important, is the one mentioned in the article: I can't read certain emotional cues. I have never seen someone blush. I can't tell if someone is red in the face, if they're flushed with anger or embarrassment, etc...

The second, less meaningful effect is that those stupid magic-eye things don't work for me.

I'd love to give this workaround a try.

Re:I'm colorblind... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792583)

Personally, I've always wondered why I can see *all* solutions to those color dot tests, with near equal fidelity. Especially since I am male. (Tetrachromatism is only supposed to work in females. The only way I can think of that would explain that would be if I were a cellular chimera, formed from 2 zygotes. I don't show any skin banding under UV light though, so that seems unlikely. It just always struck me as odd that I can always see all the solutions. And those magic eye things don't work for me either. I just see randomized data.)

Re:I'm colorblind... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42793561)

Cellular chimera? Such drama would imply XXY.

Chimerism vs. Klinefelter syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42794683)

Cellular chimera? Such drama would imply XXY.

No: Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) is a form of aneuploidy. GP was talking about chimerism: literally being a single organism made from more than one fertilized egg. Chimeras have cells in their body with one of two distinctive genomes, because they resulted from stem lines from one of the zygotes or the other.

So, what GP described would be very rare, because it would involve being an XY male that merged with a tetrachromic XX female zygote that eventually was responsible for the retinal cone cells in his body.

What you describe (Klinefelter syndrome) could potentially result in a similar effect, but isn't the same at all.

If you're interested, Klinefelter or chimerism are the only two ways that a male calico cat can be achieved. I believe ours was a chimera rather than a Klinefelter XXY.

Re:I'm colorblind... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#42794573)

IIRC, the colorblind solution is based on lightness, where the non-colorblind one is based on hue. That means that everybody can see the colorblind solution, it is just that if you are not colorblind, the other solution is much clearer.

So perhaps you are partly colorblind*, to the degree where the two solutions are equally clear?

*If such a thing exists, I didn't think so, but some other posters in this thread have mentioned it.

Re:I'm colorblind... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42795167)

I suppose, but I don't have any difficulties differentiating oranges, yellows, reds, or greens from one another, indicating that the photoreceptors are just fine. Rather, I noticed that the change in intensity of the color dots also has a change in blueness hue as well, and they stand out painfully to me. This might be an artifact of the printing process requiring a different ratio of blue to yellow pigment when creating the different shaded green dots, but the difference is painfully obvious to me, while it doesn't appear to be to others. They only see the intensity difference number show up after it's pointed out in most cases.

Maybe I should take a tetrachromacy test, just to be sure?

Re:I'm colorblind... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42795241)

I just took this color perception test [xrite.com] and scored a 4. Perfect score is 0. Worst score is 1520 or something like that. I doubt my issue is colorblindness. According to that test I have near perfect color acuity. :D

What a load of BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792541)

The whole theory behind these glasses is complete BS. They're just colored lenses, there's no light frequency shift. All they do is make you see less of some color, they don't increase your eyes' sensitivity to anything. While removing some hues can make it easier for people to concentrate on the "relevant" hues, if you couldn't see it before you won't see it after.

And it certainly can't do anything to circumvent color blindness. If you're a dichromat, reducing the spectrum of incoming light (which is what these glasses do) certainly won't turn you into a trichromat. All they do is "cheat" on some color blindness tests (the same way that colored lenses can be used to make people with normal vision appear color blind).

The whole thing reminds me of a company that made millions selling selling "a machine that focused cold on microscope samples". It consisted of an ice-filled metal box with one side shaped like a parabola, that you "aimed" at the sample, as if "cold" was something you could radiate.

Re:What a load of BS (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792621)

I'd put the functionality on the same mechanism as an audio filter. The brain may be more predisposed to looking at higher fidelity data than on subtle aspects of the data, with a full spectrum input than from an attenuated input.

Take for instance, how a background voice on a recording may become more prominent after a highpass filter, that basically just kills the highband. It does nothing to enhance or change the lowband, but the lack of highband makes you more aware of the lowband.

Wait a minute (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42792595)

Don't most primates have some form of trichromatic colour vision? We're not the only mammals who see three colours.

Re:Wait a minute (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792649)

Frm what I remember reading, mamals actually LOST a color receptor early in their evolution, then re-evolved a new one later in the primate family, and in a few others, like elephants.

Birds actually have much better color fidelity than any mammal, having never lost the ancestral color receptor genes.

Re:Wait a minute (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42792763)

Mammals lost two colour receptors. We went from four to two.

Primates got one back around 40 million years ago when we lost the ability to make our own vitamin C. We needed to be able to find more brightly coloured fruit or get scurvy and die.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42792851)

You seem to have seen all of that and still remember everything. Great memory, How old are you?

Re:Wait a minute (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42792965)


I learned about it in science class in 6th grade. The teacher was Mrs Mellen, the wife of the 8th grade math teacher. She had red/green color blindness, and often graded with a green pen instead of a red one. The loss of ancestral genes was reported in the lifescience textbook, but not covered in class.

That year, we did a number of interesting and fun lifesciences experiments on ourselves concerning genetic expression and heredity. It's when I discovered that I am either not my mother's child, or that I have bombay phenotype, because my mom is blood type AB+, where I, and all my siblings, are type O+. (Negative result on blood antigen test, with repeat trials).

Also learned I am one of the minority with a special bitterness receptor, and that my mouth's natural pH is alkaline instead of acidic.

She and the art teacher (Ms. Frakes) used to share the classroom with block schedules, alternating every other day, until the middleschool got expanded, then each got their own digs.

the expansion was completed in the third quarter of that year.

I still remember the particle board smell of the new science room, and how cold it was. (They moved teachers and classes into the room before the windows were installed, and had particleboard up in place of glass.)

The subject of my unusual memory has come up before here. A few posters suggested I have my brain examined by the local university neurology dept. :D

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802281)

It's when I discovered that I am either not my mother's child, or that I have bombay phenotype, because my mom is blood type AB+, where I, and all my siblings, are type O+.

There's other possible explanations. I messed up my test in high school and didn't discover my true blood type for almost a decade, but even if the tests are right, it's possible your mother is a chimera [psu.edu]. If she's a fraternal twin, I'd bet money on it.

Wanted: single-eye correction (1, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year ago | (#42792811)

I'd want single-eye correction. The uncorrected eye will see spectra that are filtered by this lens.

By the way, I've been told by doctors for at least 20 years that a magenta tint sometimes helps. This isn't really new art.

Re:Wanted: single-eye correction (2)

12WTF$ (979066) | about a year ago | (#42793119)

I have it.
I am mildly red-green colour blind and twenty years ago had a corneal lens implant after an elastic luggage strap (boing...bang, OUCH!) damaged my lens.
The clear perspex lens in the one eye and very slightly red (blood) tinged natural lens in the other means that I am now much better at distinguishing colour differences that were once too subtle.

Re:Wanted: single-eye correction (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42793301)

Sadly, it would also mean you see a crazy "3d glasses" effect when looking at the sky, and at certain flowers.

I should ask my mom if she has a similar phenomenon, since she had an artificial lense installed in the early 80s after developing a cataract, itself the result of a former corneal injury by a flying rivet. Never thought to ask.

Re:Wanted: single-eye correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42795539)

By the way, I've been told by doctors for at least 20 years that a magenta tint sometimes helps.

I've got tritanopia and haven't even got a clue what magenta is, you insensitive clod!

Re:Wanted: single-eye correction (1)

SLi (132609) | about a year ago | (#42795677)

Funny, I just ordered a few days ago a gel sheet with a known frequency response just to test if I can learn to see more than three primaries if I filter one of my eyes. (I'm not color blind.) Turns out such sheets are manufactured for film shooting purposes, and that they are not expensive - the one I ordered was a sheet of IIRC 21" x 24" and cost $7 + postage.

Here's a plot of the human cone frequency responses both without the filter (colored dashed lines) and with the filter (colored non-dashed lines, scaled to 1.0): http://www.niksula.hut.fi/~sliedes/cones.png [niksula.hut.fi]. The dashed black line is the frequency response of the filter sheet I ordered.

The sheet is something called "Seven Eighths Digital LED C.T.O." from Lee Filters; they have frequency response curves for all their filters. For example, see this one's curves [leefilters.com].

I wrote a python+numpy+matplotlib script to extract the curve parameters from the PNGs they have on their site and to compute and plot the modified frequency responses. I can share the code if someone is interested. It would be interesting to iterate through all the filters they have and figure out which one would be good for changing the frequency response curves a lot without eating too much of all the light.

Interesting that a site posting about this... (4, Interesting)

norpy (1277318) | about a year ago | (#42792845)

Interesting that the site doesn't render any content at all without javascript, pretty ironic for an article about disabilities.

I will give them one thing, their content seems to be accessible to someone with a screen reader.

DMV Logic (1)

Joebert (946227) | about a year ago | (#42793641)

One downside is the Oxy-Iso lenses hinder the perception of yellows and blues at the expense of enhancing reds and greens. This is especially problematic for drivers because the eyewear renders yellow lights nearly invisible.

Well damn, I can see red and green better now and I don't see either of those color lights lit, what should I do?!

Natural phenomena evident in Japanese language (0)

mattr (78516) | about a year ago | (#42794363)

Actually I think Dr. Changizi is just not traveling in the right circles. The connection between the audible behavior of natural objects and the construction of words and sounds is very evident in Japanese which is full of a huge number of onomatopoetic words. These words are written in phonetic (hiragana) characters though they usually have a root in a word that is based on a Chinese ideogram. And contemporary Japanese are very involved in devising new words based on a vocabulary of the kind Dr. Changizi suggests. This is very evident in two areas that have a huge social media aspect: manga and online chatting.

Manga uses the common Japanese onomatopeia words as sound effects. These can sometimes be made up (like "ka-shak" to load a shotgun, ka-ching is ringing a cash register, also in English I think, bicha bicha is splish splash, patan is a door slamming...), or the sound of wind, or an emotional reaction, or audio or visual special effects. Translators of manga are constantly needing to think up English language equivalents, or equivalents composed of English language phonemes.
http://oceanmoon.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/japanese-sound-effects-and-what-they-mean/ [wordpress.com]
http://www.muri.se/misc/soundfx.html [www.muri.se]

Online chatting over various digital media in Japanese leads invents words so quickly it is often hard to figure out what it means to an outsider, and in particular has introduced new glyphs which are not Japanese or Chinese kanji ideograms, but are Unicode glyphs with some connection to Japanese i.e character fragments, greek letters (a small omega looks like a curly w and is used to depict a sly cat's nose and mouth), ascii art requiring multiple characters to draw a picture, "emoji" (literally "picture characters" but also sounds like "emotion characters" that are single character sized illustrations used by girls when typing short emails to each other), etc. It may be difficult to prove, but it is possible that the pleasure derived from devising text-like symbols that mimic faces and the real world could reflect something about the brain too.

Finally, Dr. Changzi talks about X, T and L junctions seen in the real world and presumably picked up by the preprocessing nodes behind the retina. I wonder why he doesn't mention Hangul, the Korean written language that was invented by a team of scientists and which is almost completely made of these elements as well as o-shaped elements which IIRC reflect how the word is to be pronounced.

Japanese and Chinese of course have kanji ideograms made of multiple parts ("radicals") and usually one such part is a clue to the sound of the character. Indeed it is possible to read such characters without sounding them out (without phonetics) in fact both Chinese and Japanese were written that way until modern history. Presumably it is that human languages including such ideograms reflect brain structures, and it is not the case that structures evolved after the development of drawings in the dirt.

In language, the most fundamental sounds you find are plosives like puh and guh and tuh that sound like hits. And then you’ve got fricatives like shuh and zuh. They sound like slides. You also have a third category: sonorants or vowels, letters like Y and L and R. They all have a ringlike sound. The three categories of phonemes are effectively the sounds of hits, slides and rings.

What’s been the reaction to your idea that speech and written language harness these properties of the physical world?
Overall, when I give these talks people are very excited because no one has put forth a view like this. People had noticed the observation that among the sounds of speech are all these similarities. But inside the sounds of speech are these fundamental common and natural sounds of solid objects. I have had great reactions among neuroscientists and linguists. But some linguists just don’t care how it evolved, they’re interested in formal logical rules.

Re:Natural phenomena evident in Japanese language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42794377)

The doctor should read Japanese adult comics (called "hentai" on the net). Those that include translated FX would be interesting to him.

Many primates have trichromatic vision. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#42795881)

Humans are not the only one with trichromatic vision. In fact many of the primates do. So the theory that color vision evolved to tell blood flow and to pick emotional cues has it backwards. They had color vision already, they might have deployed it to detect emotional cues and that might have led to social groups where intent of other members could be predicted. This could have been the difference that led to the branching off of a set of social/gregarious primates (Chimps, Bonobos and Hominids) from the rest of the apes and primates.

Primates started specializing in a fruitarian diet some 10 or 20 million years ago. They had traded the sense of smell to stereoscopic vision earlier to become arboreal (to live in the tree branches and leap from one branch to another). So they developed the vision abilities further to tell a ripe fruit from raw one and to tell edible fresh shoots from mature leaves, that led to color vision. Another side effect of this shift is the lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C. All mammals could, but among the fruitarian primates, the loss is not debilitating because fruits were rich in vitamin C. Color vision and lack of vitamin C synthesis are the hallmarks of the primate line that became social and gregarious.

[It goes without saying, they did not do by deliberate thinking and planning.]

HACK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796079)

I know this is the internet, and we're geeks, but there are many more verbs than HACK out there.

Detect emotions in darker hued skins? (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | about a year ago | (#42796697)

This seems rather short-sighted. As I understand it, the darker your skin is, the harder it is to see a blush or whatnot. A deaf relative has made it clear that he can't really tell when black people are embarrassed from the blush reaction, and as a naive kid my relative was generally confused and impressed as to how very dark skinned people detected embarrassment from other dark skinned people despite this apparently "missing" piece of information. Obviously there are other signs. Aren't these the signs that adults with color blindness use with light or dark skinned social interactions already? Do we need this crazy technology to really detect emotions? I will admit though that when someone gets really red faced from anger, it has a certain affect.

easier for primates to see fruit in trees/plants (2)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#42797667)

Vegetarians tend to be tri-chromatic; carnovores bi-chromatic or less.

Some human females are quad-chromatic. They may have two different variants of the blue-yellow gene on their two X-chomosomes. They may see color more vividly than males.
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