Color-Enhancing Glasses Let Doctors See Disease and Emotion
Research by evolutionary neurobiologist Dr. Mark Changizi’s traces the development of color vision to the need among primates to understand changes in skin hue associated with different states of emotion or health. Flushed cheeks, for example, correspond to embarassment, exhaustion, illness, or anger associated with different levels of oxygenation in the blood. The ability to detect those states makes you more likely to survive. It’s an evolutionary advantage.
Building on that work, Changizi and collaborators at the human cognition research center 2AI Labs have developed a set of eyeglass filters that amplify the eye’s natural ability to detect changes in hues beneath the skin. The target market for the eyewear, named O2Amp, is medical professionals who could use the filters in examinations to pick up on cues about patients unavailable to the naked eye.
One filter would make veins show up more clearly, so no more jabbing the wrong part of the arm when a nurse is seeking an insertion point for a needle; another would allow doctors to easily detect trauma beneath the skin; and a third would apply a mood ring-like range of color associations to a patient’s blood. The blood of an anemic person, for example, would show up with a greener hue with the shades on.