Ishihara – Short Film – All in Dots

Unfortunately this video is now password protected and only visible for a private audience. Sorry and what a petty!

All I can say: Amazing! Yoav Brill created this short film back in 2010 as his graduation film at Bezalel, the Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.

The story is half-autobiographical. I am a color blind, and so are two of of my brothers, so the film is based both on my and their experiences, with additional dramatization of course. I’ve also held a couple of interviews with color-blind people as a research.

You can find the original post of the film on the video platform vimeo—including the original hebrew version of it. And there is also a short interview with Yoav at: In Animated Film Ishihara, an Exploration of Color Blindness, All in Dots.

I definitely would like to see more of this. Just to make the world know about color blindness and how colorblind people might feel like. And of course to enjoy beautiful animated short films!

Subway Maps for Colorblind People

Paul Wynne, an occasional colorblind underground user of the London subway, says

What is a straightforward glimpse at a map for most travellers there, is a nightmare of trying to separate similar colours for me,…

This topic is not new to colorblind people. Also in 2007 a group of Norwegian Students thought about Improving the Readability of Public Transport Maps for Colorblind Travelers. Subway Maps in general are definitely not an easy thing to decipher for peoply with any form of color vision deficiency.

Because of that Paul decided to design a new kind of map, which enhances the color information of each subway line with an additional unique pattern. This way it should be possible for any type of colorblind person to read the map easily.

Colorblind London Subway Map

The combination of color and the idea of the scattered pattern supports the readability extremely. For me as a strongly red-blind person, it is much easier to spot the correct line and to find my way around the map. In opposite to most other pattern ideas, which highlight the pattern very prominently, this patterns are just a subtle support for the colors. And because of that, the pattern enhanced colored lines are not only easy to match but also don’t disturb the map as a whole.

In 2006 there was also the decision by Japan’s Public Facilities Making Life Easier for Colorblind People. When we look at Tokyo’s subway map now, we can also see some improvement in the readability.

Colorblind Tokyo Subway Map

In this case the designers went along a different path. They decided to use letters to identify the different lines uniquely. A combination of the line letter and the station number enhances the readability and makes it much easier to find your way around the map. This is definitely an improvement to the old version. But on the other side I personally think that the letters are also a little bit confusing and the map gets to crowded with all the information.

What do you think about the different subway maps for colorblind people from London and Tokyo? Do you think this could be a possibilty to enhance any kind of colored maps? Which color, pattern combination do you think is the most effective one for colorblind users?

You can find the London map of Paul including some further information at: A Map of the London Underground for Colourblind People.

Camouflage Test for (Non)-Colorblind People

Many people heared about the colorblind army men, who were chosen specifically to spot camouflage. There was a short report in the Time Magazine in the 1940’s about those Color-Blind Observers for National Defense. But is it really true, that colorblind people can spot some patterns better than people with a broader color vision?

Unfortunately since this report there was no further evidence, that any form of color vision deficiency might improve under certain circumstances the ability to spot anything which is camouflaged.

I’m sorry, but this test is no longer available online. The only picture I could preserve is the one below. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Now Daniel, a 5th grade student of Rockland County, colorblind himself, developed a little test to evaluate the relationship between color blindness and camouflage. Have a look at the example picture below. How long did it take to spot the animal on the picture? Or can’t you spot it at all?

Color Blind SIT Experiment

The test developed by Daniel includes 24 of such images. He collects data about how many of them you can spot and how long it takes. It would be great to see some more people—colorblind or not—taking this little camouflage and color blindness test.

Hope you like the test. Share your thoughts and ideas. And I hope we will see some results of it in the future.

Genetic Test for Color Blindness

After almost 100 years since Dr Shinobu Ishihara published his first color blindness test based on pseudoisochromatic plates, we are definitely looking into a new area of color vision testing. Based on the very promising tests of Jay Neitz and his team, where colorblind monkeys started to disinguish certain colors, the company Genevolve is planning to put a genetic color blindness test on the market by the end of 2011.

The Eyedox genetic test for color blindness doesn’t need any pictures or complicated apparatus, but just a few cells from the inner cheek from where your DNA can be extracted from. This makes the test also available for young toddlers and the results can’t be influenced by misunderstanding, light conditions or any other external factors.

Many colorblind people all around the world are looking forward to get such a scientific, precise and fool-prove possibility to test their color blindness. As there are many different tests around these days, and even some online possibilities to test your color vision, you are never really 100% sure if the results tell you the truth. With a genetic test at hand a new reliable option is available. On option which can make you feel more sure to know your real grade of color vision.

Eyedox Color Blindness Diagnosis

If you take an Eyedox color vision deficiency test, not only your cvd type will be diagnosed but also the severity of it. In detail this means:

  • CVD Type: The test is diagnosing anomalous trichromacy including the different subtypes deuteranomaly (green-weak) and protanomaly (red-weak) and also dichromacy with the subtypes deuteranopia (green-blind) and protanopia (red-blind). This means any type of red-green color blindness is diagnosed in detail.
  • Severity: The severity of your color vision deficiency is shown on a scale from 1 to 100 and it is also assigned to one of the degrees very mild, mild, medium, strong or very strong.

Personally I think the strength of the Eyedox test will be the differentiation between a dichromacy and an anomalous trichromacy and a detailed severity analysis of your color blindness. On the other side we have the weakness of the test, that tritanomaly and tritanopia (blue-yellow color blindness) can not be tested with it.

Genetic Treatment of Color Blindness

Many people are not only looking for an accurate cvd test but also a possibility to treat their deficiency and get rid of it. Especially all the colorblind pilot, police officer, and firefighter aspirants, who are rejected because of their visual handicap. Genevolve did not only invest into a genetic color vision test, but is also looking into the development of a therapy to treat color blindness. Hereafter you can find a possible timeline for this next huge step forward in scientific research of color vision:

  1. In the year 2009 some squirrel monkeys were cured of their color blindness by genetic therapy.
  2. In the same year Genevolve was founded, a “life sciences company which researches, designs and commercializes non-invasive molecular diagnostic assays and treatments for clinical applications for the color vision industry”.
  3. In 2010 a Survey on Gene Therapy for Red-Green Color Blindness was done.
  4. In 2011 Genevolve announces Eyedox, a genetic color blindness test which is based on a non-invasive molecular diagnostics.
  5. Also in 2011 the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires further animal tests which will require maybe another one to two years of testing.
  6. If everything runs smoothly, after that for the first time a handful of selected red-green colorblind people will get a genetic treatment (those are already preselected and nobody can apply for this first test group!)
  7. If they achieve success with the first group, more test subjects will be needed to broaden the treatment and get more detailed test results. If you like to, you can enroll for this second phase. But be aware, this can take another one to three years until those test will get started.

Some Thoughts

I really think it is great work what they are all doing. We will all learn a lot more about our color vision and maybe in the future, some people can even cure their color vision deficiency. But I also think we should ask ourselves, if we really need a genetic treatment just to see some more colors in our life or to get a possibility for the job of our dreams. Do we have to alter our genes for that? What else happens to a human body if we do it? How far shall and can we go when it comes to the innermost of every thing alive?

Anyway. Genevolve, we are all eager to learn more about your next steps and your success stories of treating color blindness and we are looking forward to learn more about your genetic color blindness test as soon as it is available.

Living with Total Color Blindness —Documentary Island of the Colorblind

Oliver Sacks: The Island of the Colorblind

Oliver Sacks is a physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. In 1997 Dr. Sacks wrote a book about tiny Pacific atoll of Pingelap, where the genetic disease of complete color blindness (achromatopsia) is much more common than in the rest of the world.

One year after that BBC made a four-part documentary including the Island of the Colorblind. Hereafter you can watch this video, which is split into six smaller parts.

Watching this documentary you can learn a lot about color vision, how it feels to live with complete color blindness and of course a lot about the people from Pingelap.

Island of the Colorblind — Part 1 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 2 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 3 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 4 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 5 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 6 of 6

If you want to read more from Oliver Sacks, you can visit his personal homepage at www.oliversacks.com.

Why Aren’t More Women Colorblind?

Different studies show that 6 to 7 percent of all men are suffering from some kind of color blindness. And as we know from human genetics, color vision deficiency is—in most cases—encoded on the sex chromosome. This is a single Y chromosome for men and two X chromosomes for women. So why are not more women colorblind, if only one of those X chromosomes is working?

We also learned from researchers, that only about 0.4% of alle women are colorblind. Why is this number not closer to 3 or even 4 percent? Does nature know, which X chromosome has to be used for the color receptors inside the eye?

Actually it is quite simple to understand and to tell you the truth, the low number of 0.4% is not really the whole story.

Females are Mosaics

X-Inactivation

The biological process called X-inactivation, which takes place in a very early stage for each female embryo, is the source for this low number of women who suffer from color blindness. So let me show you what happens in that stage and afterwards, to understand it in more detail:

  1. At first every cell of a woman has two X chromosomes.
    Let’s assume that one of them has some sort of red-green color blindness encoded in it.
  2. In a very early stage of the embryo, X-inactivation takes place.
    Each cell inactivates one of its X chromosomes. This means about 50% will have the defective gene and the rest is not affected.
  3. Every cell passes the inactivation on to its successors.
    Because of this, the ratio stays about the same during the whole life.

Now, what does this mean? — In the end we have actually three different possibilities concerning red-green color blindness in women:

  1. Both X chromosomes are not affected: The woman has normal color vision.
  2. Both X chromosomes are defective: The woman is red-green colorblind.
  3. One X chromosome is affected: Due to X-inactivation this woman has about 50% of defective genes in her eye as well as 50% genes which are working perfectly right.

The last case of course is the most interesting one. Usually only one part of your family would be affected by red-green color blindness. In this case, as a woman, you are called a carrier of the defect, as only one X chromosomes is carrying this genetic irregularity. But if we have a closer look at it, you actually also have those defective color receptors inside the retina!

As we have several millions photoreceptors (cones) which are responsible for our color vision, the defective signals are in a way oversteered by the correctly working ones. So in “real life”, you as a carrier woman have normal color vision just with only about half of your for example green receptors working correctly.

Researchers could show in some cases that such women have slightly more problems in perceiving certain colors under special light conditions, for example dim light. But if I think about it, those women actually not only have three different types of receptors (red, green, and blue) but one more (red, green, defective-green, and blue)! Doesn’t this mean, that they might have an even better color vision then most of us? Might some of them have tetrachomatic vision?

If you want to learn more about X-inactivation in color blindness, read the article by by Shuai Chen from Stanford University on exactly this topic.

Testing Color Vision Online

Dr. Terrace L. Waggoner is a well known optometrist and researcher when it comes to color vision and color deficiency testing. He developed different tests mostly based on pseudoisochromatic plates and has an online appearance at Colorblind Home Page, which has a lot of very useful information concerning color blindness.

During the last year his son T.J. Waggoner started an online color vision testing possibilty together with his father. This test of course is based on the research done by Dr. Waggoner and consists of a set of pseudoisochromatic test plates. I had the possibilty to take this online color vision deficiency test and would like to give you some insights into the test and as well I would like to share my thougths about it with you.

Discount code «colblindor»: get 20% off at www.Testing Color Vision.com!

I already reported about this new online test possibilty at Online Pseudoisochromatic Plates Color Vision Test. Since then they made some major improvements on the test and it can give you some more detailed results on your actual color vision deficiency type and severity.

So first about the test itself: It consists of four different parts, starting with a general color blindness test the second to fourth part are related to the three different main types of color vision deficiency: Protan defects, deutan defects and tritan defects. Each part has a set of pseudoisochromatic plates (the circle pictures with the dots) with some “hidden” numbers. Now what you have to do is:

  1. Have a look at the plate (you’ll get only 2 seconds to do that).
  2. Choose on the answer page, which number you have seen. Or choose nothing, if you haven’t seen anything at all.
  3. Press Next and you’ll be shown the next plate.

Test Result

At the end of the test you’ll get a result sheet which shows your correct and wrong answers for each section. On the right side you can see my personal test result.

As you can see, the four different parts are shown each seperately. I haven’t seen a lot — nothting new to me — but what I like is the extra feedback that according to this test result I’m a Severe Protan (Red-Blind), which correlates with all my other results perfectly.

Are this test results reliable?

At this point it is getting a bit more complicated. Can you believe in this result? Does it tell you the truth? Or is it just another unreliable online color vision test?

Unfortunately nobody can tell you the truth at this point. It is still very well known, that if you want to get to most precise result, you have to check your vision specialist and take an anomoloscope color vision test — the golden standard when it comes to color blindness testing.

But this new possibilty could get closer and closer to a very good result. Of course you shouldn’t cheat, but I can tell you it’s not easy (if you don’t have somebody besided you which tells your the right answer) and you would only cheat yourself anyway.

There are no academic results around yet for this new test. This always takes quite a long time. But some studies have started, it looks like if the FAA has also a look into it and some other studies try to find out if this could be a new possibilty for color vision deficiency testing.

If you would like to try out this new online color blindness test at www.Testing Color Vision.com just use my discount code «colblindor» and you’ll get 20% off!

I now that displays are differently calibrated and therefore you can get different test result while using different computers or electronic devices. But are those differences not getting smaller and smaller? And are vision specialists not as well a little bit error-prone? Which is better? — What do you think…

Colorful – A Color Detection App

Colorful is an application for mobile devices that provides a fast, easy and handy way of recognizing colors. The application can assist a color blind person in detecting colors both in a live video feed from a mobile device’s camera, a photograph that was taken previously or saved from an email and even photos from various social networks (e.g. Facebook, Live).

Recognize and name colors with Colorful

Designed by 3 Computer Science students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Colorful uses color interpretation and compensation algorithms and augmented reality technologies that may be integrated into almost every mobile smart phone device. Thanks to the intuitive user interface and straight-forward design, Colorful has won the WPAppItUp contest from Microsoft Corporation and was elected as the Editor’s choice.

Colorful boasts three major features that practically turn it into a one-stop shop:

  1. Recognize colors with 4 different naming levels, ranging from your basic colors (i.e. Red, Green, Blue, Yellow etc.) and up to a full dictionary of 16.5 Billion color values (Hexadecimal notation).
  2. Tag your favorite or most important colors with a name of your choosing! This comes in very handy when you are out shopping for clothes and want to find a shirt in that special color you look so good in. All you have to do is when you see a color you want to remember, tag it with a meaningful name and then next time you see it Colorful will let you know!
  3. Daltonize the colors on the screen according to your own type of color blindness (Protanopia, Deuteranopia, Tritanopia). You can use this filter on the live camera feed or with a photo. Never again pick up a bad batch of bananas!

Daltonized image (right) for color blind users

As a first step, the application was made publicly available on September 20th 2011 on the Windows Phone Marketplace and can be used on any Windows Phone 7 that runs the latest operating system (Mango, 7.5). Down the road, the developers inform that they intend on posting the application to more mobile platforms including Android, iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) and the upcoming Windows 8 OS.

Windows Phone 7 users may get Colorful for FREE on the windows Marketplace and may choose to upgrade it for a small fee to gain additional functionality. Get it here (both Free and premium versions are available).

Free eBook on Color Blindness Released

Many people want to learn the basics about color blindness, the genetics, the different types of color vision deficiency, how it is to live with it, if there is anything available to help colorblind people or if you can cure it. Based on this I put together a series on Color Blind Essentials, which includes six parts and covers the most popular topics in this field.

Color Blind Essentials – Free EBook

This series is now also available as a free eBook on Color Blind Essentials! Free for everybody interested in the topic to download it, print it out, read it and even spread it—as you like.

I really hope you enjoy this little book. On 28 pages I tried to put together the basic topics on color vision deficiency. I also tried to cover the most often asked questions and to give some insights on what it is like to be colorblind. And of course I also included some facts & figures and some pictures simulating color blindness.

If you like my Color Blind Essentials eBook, please spread the word, share it with your friends or even use it on your own web site.

What is it Like to be Color Blind

Laura Evans created a nice and short documentary film to show what it’s like to be colorblind. While interviewing a colorblind artist she gives us a nice overview of how it feels, some thoughts on what the term color means and how important colors really are if you are suffering from color blindness. “No such thing as color” includes some nice details to give you an insight on how it might feel to be colorblind.

There is only one thing which I don’t really understand: She starts with letting the guy name the coloring of some houses in the neighbourhood. For me as a strongly red-blind person the guy in the film does a perfect job on this task…. but watch yourself :-)

You also might like to visit Laura’s website at www.nosuchthingascolor.com.