Interview: Media Atelier on Retina for Color-blind iPhone Users

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Retina aims to assist color-blind iPhone users.
Retina aims to assist color-blind iPhone users.

A week back, my interest was piqued by Retina (App Store link), a 99-cent augmented reality app that aims to assist color-blind users. I interviewed developer Stefan Fürst of Media Atelier for some background on the app.

Cult of Mac: What was the inspiration behind Retina? Why did you decide to make it?
Stefan Fürst: The idea was born when my red-green blind bicycle buddy was talking in a very convinced way about his green bike he likes so much. He had been riding it for two years and had no idea it wasn’t green at all.

How does it work, and how did you decide on the interface?
The interface has been kept very simple to make it suitable for everyday use. The list of colors might look very short and inaccurate to non-color blinds—but to figure out if an object is green or red this works perfectly.

What feedback have you had from colour-blind users?
One of them made me to add the saturation indicator and told me that this helps him a lot.

In which ways do you think augmented reality apps will evolve in the future?
I believe that there are almost endless possibilities, but most uses would need higher processing power to make them run smoothly on an iPhone or other mobile device.

What are your future plans for iPhone apps?
Actually I am more of a Mac Developer, extending my desktop apps with iPhone helpers. I developed Retina for my color-blind friends and hopefully a lot of other people having problems in recognizing colors.

Having garnered some feedback from early Retina adopters, it seems there’s definitely interest in this kind of app, although Retina itself appears to have trouble with subtler colors, and it often claims it’s ‘too dark’ or ‘too light’ to make an assessment. However, for 99 cents, it’s worth a look for anyone severely color-blind wanting a quick and easy way to ascertain the color of things like clothing.