Using C# to help the colour blind! Meet the winners of the Canadian Imagine Cup 2015 World Citizenship competition

Imagine Cup challenges students to do great things with technology. The world citizenship category sponsored by Taking IT Global, challenges students to use technology to help others. Team Eye3 from Queens University was inspired by the challenges faced by a colour blind teammate to build a better solution for all!Printtiglogo-550

The problem!

700 million people are colour-deficient worldwide. Colour-blindness affects approximately 1 in 12 men, and 1 in 200 women in the world. The condition is X-linked, or can be caused by certain health factors such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

We use colour in charts, pictures, graphics, and clothing to convey information. These cues are often lost on colour-blind people. If these individuals could somehow glean this information, it would enrich their day-to-day lives and solve a whole host of problems.  We want to provide them with a real time visual overlay for their desktop computers, mobile tablets, and smartphone devices. The overlay will function by translating hard to see colours into visually equivalent ones that are easier for the colour-blind individual to identify. By using a camera application with this overlay enabled, the person can bring the same kind of functionality to the real world.


Team Eye3’s core concept was originally conceived by one of its founding members, Zaeem Anwar. As a diagnosed protanopic individual himself, he recognizes the troubles associated with colour-blindness firsthand. Many of solutions we are solving with Ciris derive from the troubles Zaeem faced throughout his life living as a colour-blind person.

The solution!

Ciris aims to be a multi-platform digital colour augmentation app, that is free, and user friendly. In almost every aspect, competing brands are costly, slow or require a high user skill-set to effectively use the program. Additionally, the lack of real-time augmentation in many solutions make usage a hassle, discouraging users from using the application.

The current application is built on top of the Windows Magnification API. The API is called using a C# front end which handles the user’s options and settings. Once the application is running, it sits on the user’s system tray, where it can be opened at any time to configure its settings. Within its settings, users are able to select their type of colour-blindness, and adjust the intensity of the overlay. When the application is toggled on, the overlay is seamlessly placed on top of the user’s display. Users may also use the application shortcut (Shift +Windows key + C) in order to toggle the overlay at will. The toggle ability enables the application when it is of use, and quickly disables it when it is not.


The application is extremely lightweight and consumes minimal system resources. There is no latency in navigating websites, watching videos or playing video games. We have demonstrated the application to numerous colour-blind individuals, with great positive feedback. It has been inspiring and heartwarming to see the smiles on people’s face’s as they saw the application transform their world.

The team!

This project was conceived and constructed by a talented team of students from Queens University: Eddie Wang from the bachelor of Commerce Honours program, Zaeem Anwar from the bachelor of Computing honours program and Biomedical Computing, and Jake Alsemgeest from the bachelor of Computing Honours program and Software Design.

QueensLogo_colour TeamEye3

What happens next for our winners?

They will get some advice from Canadian philanthropist Michael Furdyk of Taking IT Global and they go head to head against the winner of the Canadian Imagine Cup Innovation Category to determine who represents Canada at the Imagine Cup World Finals! The world finals will take place this July in Seattle, Washington home of Microsoft headquarters. At the World Finals they will compete against 9 other teams from around the world for a chance to win $50,000 USD and a meeting with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella! The world finalists will also get to participate in a HoloLens hackathon! 

Here’s a little teaser of what the team might expect at the first day of world’s finals if they are selected. Good luck team Eye3!

Comments (2)

  1. Taswar Bhatti says:

    Congratulations guys 🙂

  2. Darrel Miller says:

    Congratulations.  Love the description of how the solution actually is implemented.  Very ingenious.

Skip to main content