Colour blind people could soon be able to see things in television programmes that they could never see before, thanks to research from the University of East Anglia.
UEA spin-out company Spectral Edge today launches a video-capable version of its patented technology called ‘Eyeteq’ which allows colour-blind viewers to better differentiate between red and green.
Colour blindness affects around 2.7 million people in the UK (250 million worldwide), including 1 in 12 men. The condition means that those affected cannot see images, including TV, with as much clarity as those with normal vision.
Eyeteq allows colour blind people to see details they previously could not with minimal impact on the picture for ‘colour normals’ – those who do not have colour blindness. This allows both groups to watch the same screen together.
Based on research from UEA’s school of Computer Sciences, Eyeteq uses mathematical perception models to modify image colours, so that both still and moving images are improved.
The new technology is now available for integration into consumer set top boxes.
Prof Graham Finlayson from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences said: “This image-enhancement technology will help to improve the viewing experience for colour blind people.
“With Eyeteq enabled, content streamed to a set top box is enhanced on a frame-by-frame basis before being transmitted to the TV screen.
“It would be available to users as an option in the accessibility menu. Programmes which contain a large amount of red and green in their images such as sports, cookery and nature, would be particularly enhanced.”
Christopher Cytera, managing director of Spectral Edge, said: “Our Eyeteq technology has been proven to enhance the still image viewing experience for colour-blind people, and we are now extending this to TV and video content.
“Service providers and set top box manufacturers can see the benefits in increasing accessibility to colour blind viewers, and Eyeteq provides the perfect solution for the living room TV screen. Our trials have proved the concept, and it is now ready for integration into prime time consumer technology to transform how colour blind people, and their families, watch TV.”.
A free technical demo of Eyeteq is available as a phone app which allows users to select images and apply the technology at different strengths to simulate different types of colour deficiency.
The app can be downloaded by clicking here.