Apple patent is for displays with improved color accessibility

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20170301310) for “displays with improved color accessibility” to aid folks who have trouble distinguishing between different colors on the display of an iOS, watchOS, or macOS device. 

Users with color vision deficiencies may miss a significant amount of visual detail in the images on a display screen, ranging from textual information to photographs and videos. Apple’s solution: “daltonization,” a process through which colors on a display are adjusted to allow users with color vision deficiencies to distinguish a range of detail they would otherwise miss. 

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Daltonization is sometimes offered by applications such as websites, web browsers, or desktop applications. These applications adjust the display colors in a targeted display area to make the display content in that area more accessible to the user. These daltonization applications typically apply a single static daltonization algorithm with uniform daltonization strength to the entire targeted display area. 

Here’s Apple’s (very technical) summary of the invention: “An electronic device may include a display and control circuitry that operates the display. The control circuitry may be configured to daltonize input images to produce daltonized output images that allow a user with color vision deficiency to see a range of detail that the user would otherwise miss. The daltonization algorithm that the control circuitry applies to input images may be specific to the type of color vision deficiency that the user has. The daltonization strength that the control circuitry applies to the image or portions of the image may vary based on image content. For example, natural images may be daltonized with a lower daltonization strength than web browsing content, which ensures that memory colors such as blue sky and green grass do not appear unnatural to the user while still allowing important details such as hyperlinks and highlighted text to be distinguishable.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.