Development of Portable Color Discrimination for the Visually Impaired and Color Blindness
Mitsuyoshi Maekawa*, Shinya Hashizume**, Yasunori Touma**,
Yukiko Imai***, Hiroaki Seki***, and Yoshikatsu Hifumi****
*Industrial Research Institute of Ishikawa, 2-1 Kuratsuki, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-8203, Japan
**Hokkei Co., Ltd. 3-4-20 Masuizumi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 921-8025, Japan
***Graduate School of Natural Science & Technology, Kanazawa University, 2-40-20 Kodatsuno, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-8667, Japan
****Reha Vision Co., Ltd., 2-13 Asahidai, Tatsunokuti, Nomi, Ishikawa 923-1211, Japan
The inability to discriminate color is an ongoing problem for the visually impaired and those with color blindness. We propose a portable color discrimination unit that communicates color information to users in verbal messages and sound. The unit states what color the target is and, by scanning its surface, transmits a continuous musical tone corresponding to color variations in the scanned area. The targetive is to make color patterns and the target layout recognizable, requiring 1) colorimetric stability, 2) translation of colorimetric information into an appropriate color name, and 3) setting of a relationship between color and sound. We propose using automated calibration and developed a colorimetric unit with high environmental robustness. Colorimetric data consists of RGB data, which does not lend itself readily to color discrimination, so we developed a way to convert RGB data to 220 color names. To develop easy-to-remember color-sound correspondence, we propose using the Shepard Tone Method, in which Shepard tones are mapped onto color hues. These are combined so users scan a target and hear a continuous sound and, if necessary, a color name, to recognize the target’s overall color pattern, somewhat akin to how a visually impaired person recognizes a sculpture by touching its surface.
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