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High-tech glasses correct colour blindness

February 12, 2013

Scientists have created a pair of glasses that have been shown to correct red and green color blindness. — shutterstock.com picScientists have created a pair of glasses that have been shown to correct red and green color blindness. — shutterstock.com pic

iO9.com recently reported on the glasses, developed by 2AI Labs in Boise, Idaho, which use filters to help doctors spot veins more easily. But they have a surprising side benefit: they can enhance the ability to see red and green colors.

"We didn't design them for colour blind people," evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi of 2AI Labs told New Scientist, "but we weren't too surprised to find they help."

Last summer, the team at 2AI developed three pairs of glasses called O2Amps based on Changizi's colour vision theory. According to his theory, colour vision evolved to "perceive oxygenation and hemoglobin variations in skin in order to detect social cues, emotions and the states of our friends or enemies," writes Scientific American. The goal of the new glasses is to visually enhance this effect, to better clue wearers into the emotional state of people around them.

The eyewear is currently being used for various practical applications, including medical, to help nurses spot veins, and to applify bruising that may be invisible to the naked eye.

Late last year, 2AI Labs distributed the Oxy-Iso variety lenses to people who are colour blind to see if they would help with red-green colour blindness (a genetic trait that occurs in about 10 per cent of men), with positive response from users. The downside is that the lenses inhibit the perception of yellows and blues, which can be problematic for drivers because the glasses render yellow lights nearly invisible, reports Scientific American.

The company is also in the process of developing ambient lighting technology to reduce glare and create a warm illumination, making everyone in the room look younger and more luminous, no corrective eyewear needed. — AFP-Relaxnews

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