EyePilot to debut with flying colors

Abbey Stirgwolt

Software designed to help colorblind computer users

Jim Petitt is one of those drivers.

The ones who will inch, stop, inch, stop … all the way to a traffic light until it changes.

Except Petitt usually only does it at night, and it’s not because he’s trying to race the person in the adjacent lane.

On the contrary, Petitt, sophomore marketing major, is among the approximately 10 percent of the population who are colorblind. And while his colorblindness doesn’t normally cause him much trouble, traffic lights and other color-dependent visuals such as pie charts and computer graphics can be especially bothersome.

To help solve that problem, Tenebraex Corporation has introduced eyePilot, a new software designed to aid colorblind people in identifying colors in computer graphics.

“Without a doubt, being colorblind presents significant efficiency and productivity challenges for those using computers,” said Tenebraex CEO Peter Jones in a Monday press release. “EyePilot is the solution to those challenges.”

EyePilot functions as a window on the user’s computer screen, providing a filter through which the user can view Web sites and other graphics.

By using eyePilot, Petitt and other colorblind students would be able make better sense of graphic illustrations used in classes and presentations.

“If the teacher uses a PowerPoint with lots of colors, it just blends together and I can barely make it out,” Petitt said.

If a professor used the eyePilot program with a presentation, Petitt would have several options for viewing color-dependent visuals more clearly.

One tool allows the user to click on any section of a graph, graying out all other sections. Another clarifies graphics, such as pie charts and maps, by allowing the user to click on a section of the chart and highlighting the corresponding section on the graph’s legend.

A magnifying tool lets the user zoom in on any section, and hue and contrast can also be adjusted according to user preference.

“I would consider using it because it would help me see colors better,” Petitt said. “It would be like an aid.”

EyePilot, released this week, will market for $34 and is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. The product can be previewed at http://www.colorhelper.com.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].