Microsoft has launched an iOS app called Colour Binoculars.

It was developed to help the colour blind see a broader spectrum of colours. It works for anyone with the three most common forms of colour blindness, and it comes from a pair of Microsoft software engineers, one of whom is colour blind.

The app uses the iPhone's camera and adjusts colours to make them easier for the colour blind to differentiate. The enhanced image appears on the iPhone's screen. You could use it to choose a matching outfit or even determine if meat is no longer pink when cooking. You could also use it to simply take in the bright, beautiful world around you.

Here's how Tom Overton, the app's colour-blind developer, described it:

"It's an app that helps color blind people distinguish color combinations that they would normally have trouble telling apart. 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."

Overton and Tingting Zhu started working on Color Binoculars in 2015 during a Microsoft Hackathon and eventually completed the project under Microsoft's experimental Garage program: “For me at least, it’s such a personal project,” Overton said. “I showed it off to my family. I have a cousin who is also colorblind, and he really enjoyed it."

This isn't the first app to help the colour blind. Still, if you'd like to try it, it's free to download and use.

Sections Microsoft Apps