Full Spectrum

Full Spectrum

TV for the colour blind is now a reality thanks to Computer Scientists at UEA. Spectral Edge have developed a new product called 'Eyeteq' that enhances digital screens for those with colour blindness without altering the image for others.

Spectral Edge, a spin-out company from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences, has developed image-enhancement technology that can make computer, TV or even cinema screens look better for both colour blind and colour normal viewers.

Professor Graham Finlayson founded Spectral Edge in 2011, building on research being conducted by the Colour and Vision Group of the School of Computing Sciences at UEA.

Their exciting work in fields such as colour science and psychophysics led to the creation of new image fusion techniques that Professor Finlayson believes could soon become ‘text-book’.

The image processing technology Eyeteq is one major result of the research, enhancing digital screens to improve the viewing experience of the UK’s 2.7 million colour blind. The software will transform the experience of watching TV and online video for its colour blind users by combining normally invisible details with visible ones to create a subtly modified image.

Eyeteq’s major innovation is the production of a technology that also works for non-colour blind people; other methods of modifying images for the colour blind do exist, but they have usually resulted in a poorer image for anyone watching with normal vision (and often even for the colour blind viewers themselves). Thanks to Eyeteq, colour-blind and colour-normal people will be able to share the same screen and enjoy the same spectrum.

To maintain the balance of colour visibility and image quality, Spectral Edge used complex mathematical models to subtly adjust individual colours, strengthening the effect for colour blind people while simultaneously naturalising it for non-colour blind viewers – a ‘joint optimisation’ methodology.

Spectral Edge conducted extensive user-preference studies to make sure that their images not only present a full colour spectrum to colour blind observers, but actually look better than untreated ones. Working with volunteers from Colour Blind Awareness, Spectral Edge has been able to verify the effectiveness of its technology using direct feedback from colour blind participants, as opposed to engineered simulations.

Inline images 1Eyeteq – alongside Spectral Edge’s other image fusion technologies – is a major achievement for both the company and UEA’s School of Computing Sciences. It looks set to become a widely used technology that could improve the lives of millions of colour blind people across the globe.

How will you see things differently?