Look around the room and try to spot a color you’ve never seen before.
Now stop before you give yourself an aneurysm.
Most of us (unfortunately) don’t have tetrachromacy, a rare condition that allows those affected to see hundreds of shades of colors that simply look identical to the rest of us.
But now researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say they may have developed a pair of glasses that will allow those without tetrachromacy to get the full-color experience. The glasses are said to allow the wearer to distinguish between metamers (also known as two colors that initially look the same but are subtly different.)
Most humans are trichromats, meaning they have three cone cells in the eye that can detect color – one that perceives short wavelengths of light, one medium and one long – which correspond to blue, green and red colors.
Those with tetrachromacy, on the other hand, see a vast range of colors imperceptible to most people.
The special glasses work by filtering out different parts of the blue light spectrum, meaning each eye perceives something slightly different when viewing blue objects. This made the subtle differences in color between objects more pronounced, in turn letting the wearer perceive the different metamers.
The researchers are currently working on different filters that would allow the wearer to see metamers of other colors like green or red. They say the kit could eventually be used to help those looking to counteract camouflage or spot counterfeit cash - or simply blow everyone's minds by expanding their understandings of the rainbow like never before.