This Could Be Big

Scientist Stumbles onto a Cure for Color Blindness

This Could Be Big

Out in the world, one out of every 10 men have some form of color blindness.

While it’s not the most debilitating genetic irregularity, color blindness can still make everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, difficult. Imagine being color blind and in a gang. That could become downright dangerous.

Then, of course, color blindness becomes a bit of a novelty to “color normals” – as those who can see the full spectrum of colors are known -- when they first come across someone who’s color blind. “What color is my shirt!?” is a favorite question.

But a scientist named Mark Changizi and his partner Tim Barber from 2AI Labs in Boston have created a pair of glasses that may provide a remedy for a certain type of color blindness – the inability to see reds and greens.

According to Changizi, it turns out that color vision is a trait found only in primates with exposed skin as opposed to dogs, which don’t have color vision. We use our color vision to see the subtle variations in blood flow, on, for example, the human face, to sense feelings and emotion.

The glasses were designed to isolate and amplify certain visual characteristics, and were not necessarily intended as a fix for color blindness. But while Changizi and Barber were showing the glasses to individuals around the world, they found that certain people with color blindness could see colors they were otherwise unable to see.

Mark Changizi joined us in New York to discuss the glasses, and it turns out color vision may be only the beginning.

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