Meet ColorADD, A Revolutionary Code To Help Colorblind People
Color blindness, sometimes called Daltonism to honor the English chemist John Dalton, a pioneer in the study of this problem, is an inability or decreased ability to see and/or perceive colors. Most of the times it has a genetic origin, related to the X sexual chromosome. Given that color blindness has a X-linked recessive inheritance, men having a X chromosome with the disease will be color blind, while women need to have both copies of the gene carrying the disease to be color blind - if they only have one, they will not be color blind, but can transmit the disease to their offspring.
There are several types of color blindness and several degrees of severity as well - it can go from the total absence of color, with such people literally living life in black and white, to some degree of "color mixing", this is, being unable to distinguish some colors. For example, I am colorblind, but not in a very high degree. I can easily "detect" all the main colors like red, green, yellow, blue and so on, but have some difficulty distinguishing "similar colors", such as green and some browns, blue and some purples, among others. For example, I know (because I read so) that this lime color below is a green, but looking at it I am confused, because to me it also looks like yellow (and no, I am not making it up).
Miguel Neiva, a Portuguese designer, was interest in color blindness and had the idea of creating a universal graphic code which would allow everyone, specially color blind people, to understand colors - not only colors itself, but also the way they are created: ColorADD. He came up with very simple symbols to represent blue (cyan), yellow, red (magenta), white and black. As we all learned in school, the other colors appear by mixing those:
As you can see, the basic symbols blend easily with each other in order to form new colors. The next step was to create special symbols for light and dark grey, as well as gold and silver. The greys are a mix black and white tones, while gold and silver are also a mix but have a parenthesis:
The next step was to add tones to all the other colors, using black and white ColorADD symbols:
And that is it, now we have full understanding on how ColorADD works and was created and designed. Here is the entire graphic code:
The main purpose behind Neiva's creation was to apply the code to everyday life in things like clothes, pencils, and so on. In fact, ColorADD has been growing inside Portugal, being utilized in more and more places and stuff. It has been applied in a brand of colored pencils, Porto subway line scheme, hospital's patient orientation and pharmaceutical labeling, clothes, and many other uses.
The applications of ColorADD are really endless, and the goal is obviously to expand the code as globally as possible. This code is note expensive to implement, so there is no reason why we should not include help people whose lives are worse because of this visual defect. Giving a mundane example, how awkward would it be if you could not play UNO because of color blindness? Well, some people can't, and ColorADD can help them:
In the video below you can watch Miguel Neiva explaining ColorADD himself on a TEDx Conference (Portuguese with English subtitles):
What do you think about ColorADD? Do you think it has the potential to be applied all over the world? Let us know in the comments.
Diogo Costa • International Innovations