Color-blindness affects 7% of the world’s population. When it comes to surfing the web, the condition can make it impossible to understand the infinite influx of videos, images, and charts.
Animesh Tripathi, a 17-year-old high school student in India, is trying to change that. While other teenagers experimented with poor life choices, Tripathi spent the last two years experimenting with algorithms that allow color schemes online to be adjusted to accommodate the needs of the color blind.
Tripathi is developing an extension to Google Chrome, called ReColor, that would let color blind users adjust colors using settings of their choice. Before Tripathi’s research, the color-blind had a few options for improving their digital experience, including primitive webpage filters to shift color schemes. But Tripathi’s algorithms would allow for the first native, built-in feature on web browsers that would make turning on the color-blind mode as simple as clicking a button.
"One of the key elements of responsible design is making an experience inclusive of all types of audiences," Tripathi said in the project’s promotional video, "and thus it’s essential for computer experiences to cater to color-blind people." Inspiration for the project came from a friend, who was devastated to find out that he couldn’t become a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force due to a diagnosis of red-green color blindness, the inability to distinguish between red and green colors.
The project, called Improving Digital Experiences for Color Blind Computer Users, is currently being funded on IndieGogo. So far, Tripathi has raised $1,218, surpassing his $1,000 goal.
Last year, Tripathi was selected as a regional finalist at the Google Global Science Fair, and in May, he’ll be representing India at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in L.A. Then, he'll be going off to college to study computer science—but maybe he should skip that and go launch a startup.