Bettenhausen: So what were some of your coping
mechanisms for dealing with your colorblindness in the lab? Stanley: First off, avoid having to do the
things that might be most challenging. Bettenhausen: This is Patrick Stanley. He’s a graduate student at the University
of Maryland, College Park. He studies materials used in solid oxide fuel
cells, which convert fuel directly into electricity and are more efficient than conventional internal
combustion engines. He’s also red-green colorblind. Stanley: In the end, it’s just kind of take
the hit to your pride and got to somebody else and say what color is this? Bettenhausen: A company called EnChroma is
now offering an alternative: Glasses that use optical filters to help people with impaired
color vision distinguish colors. We know these glasses won’t cure colorblindness,
but we asked Stanley to try them on and tell us how helpful they are in the lab. So first impressions. Look around the room. What are you seeing or not seeing? Stanley: Everything feels kind of like I’m
looking through rose-colored glasses. Just a little pink-purply-ish, maybe? I’ve always had trouble with the color purple. I’m kind of convinced it doesn’t exist. Bettenhausen: Before heading down to the lab,
we asked Stanley to look at samples of one his solid oxide fuel cell materials, yttria-stabilized
zirconia. These lustrous, whitish materials that he
worked with all the time took on a new dimension with the glasses on. Stanley: These are more blue than I remember
them being. I don’t know if that’s the base on the
glasses or what. But those are blue to me. Bettenhausen: It was time to set Stanley free
is his lab wearing the EnChroma glasses. Here’s his reaction. Stanley: There were some simple things that
really caught my attention, just primary colors seemed more their color, and that’s just
labels and boxes and things. They caught my attention more. And I guess that’s the point of a hazardous
label is to catch my attention. I also really noticed LED colors. I had never noticed that these temperature
controllers had different, you know, that that the top was red and the bottom was green
for numbers. I’m astounded. I’ve never really been able to tell between
red and green. Bettenhausen: Stanley also told us that he
was able to more quickly distinguish between colors on the computer screen while wearing
the glasses, so he definitely noticed an improvement in his work. The glasses start at about $250 a pair, a
little more than many high-end, normal sunglasses. Is that investment worth the improvement Stanley
was seeing? Stanley: I’ve positioned myself in a place
where my color blindness does not impact my daily job. But if it was something that I really wanted
to do and it was an impact to me, I would consider these. For me, right now, in what I do, it’s a
luxury. Bettenhausen: For Chemical & Engineering News,
I’m Craig Bettenhausen.

Can glasses for the colorblind help scientists in the lab?
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3 thoughts on “Can glasses for the colorblind help scientists in the lab?

  • February 8, 2017 at 7:23 pm
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    There is a whole world outside of the job.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2017 at 3:52 am
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    Very interesting perspective on the efficacity on those glasses!

    Reply
  • February 11, 2017 at 3:46 am
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    This person just found out what red and green look like and he considers the glasses a luxury?

    Reply

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