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Microsoft’s new app lets colorblind people see the world a little clearer

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Colorblindness isn’t usually a debilitating condition, but it’s probably more common than you think, affecting some eight percent of the population. In extreme cases, people might wear tinted glasses to shift the colors they see nearer to real life, but most don’t bother. Now, though, a new app from Microsoft will make it easier for anyone with colorblindness to see the world a little clearer.

The app is named Color Binoculars and uses your phone’s camera as a lens through. “It’s an app that helps colorblind people distinguish color combinations that they would normally have trouble telling apart,” says creator Tom Overton in a Microsoft blog. “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.”

The app can’t fix colorblindness, but it will make colors easier to distinguish

Overton’s day job is as a Microsoft software engineer working on Cortana, but he made the app a personal side-project and released it through Microsoft Garage — the company’s in-house lab for experimental apps. “I showed it off to my family. I have a cousin who is also colorblind, and he really enjoyed it,” says Overton. “Also, when I’m cooking and I need to brown meat, I can bust it out so I can tell when it’s not pink anymore!”

And, of course, as well as letting colorblind people see true color, the app also lets those without colorblindness experience what the conditions is like. You can download Color Binoculars yourself from the App Store today.

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