Explore the spectrum of hue illusions with Color Uncovered

Oct 31, 2011
OMG

Color-based optical illusions are fascinating to the mind and an excellent work break (and especially cool ones can garner one quite a few reblogs on Tumblr and the like). But instead of simply staring at an “X” for 30 seconds just to see what happens, wouldn’t you like to know why that black and white […]

Color-based optical illusions are fascinating to the mind and an excellent work break (and especially cool ones can garner one quite a few reblogs on Tumblr and the like). But instead of simply staring at an “X” for 30 seconds just to see what happens, wouldn’t you like to know why that black and white image suddenly flashes in full color? New iPad app Color Uncovered explains exactly that.

Created by San Francisco’s the Exploratorium, Color Uncovered presents a 14-page guide to illusions and all the factual information you need to understand how these images trick your eye and your mind. I skipped the illusion that asked for a drop of water to be placed on-screen as well as the effect that required access to a clear CD case (who still has that?), but I did have white paper handy to learn when yellow is yellower than yellow. For everything else, I simply needed my eyeballs to see how a blue square isn’t really there, or why some colors appear to move when they plainly are static.

Really, the only downside to Color Uncovered is that it’s over too quickly. I explored the app fully in less than 30 minutes, but since it’s free, there’s no reason not to check it out, especially if you’re a parent. Kids will flip for Color Uncovered’s content. The video section might be a bit too cerebral for younger users, but I found the majority of the written content to be accessible for all ages — especially if there’s a grown-up around to help with some explanation.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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