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NODE Chroma module lets you collect and reproduce colors


November 22, 2012

The NODE Chroma is an optical sensing device, that allows users to scan colors in their environment for reproduction in the form of graphics or paints

The NODE Chroma is an optical sensing device, that allows users to scan colors in their environment for reproduction in the form of graphics or paints

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The NODE is a rather clever device. It’s a multi-function remote sensor, that links via Bluetooth with a paired smartphone. Different sensing modules can be swapped on and off of the main NODE platform, allowing it to serve as a 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer or gyroscope. Additional modules were promised when the device was first announced, and an interesting one is now on the way. It’s the NODE Chroma, and it allows users to copy any color they encounter, for later use in things like paints or computer graphics.

Like the other NODE modules, the Chroma takes the form of a small hockey puck-shaped device, that attaches to the NODE’s cylindrical body. When users come across a fall leaf, pretty flower, living room wall or anything else that they which to record the color of, they just hold the Chroma (while attached to the NODE) up against that object. The end cap of the Chroma blocks out any extraneous light, while its built-in white LEDs illuminate the surface with a bright neutral light.

A NODE device, equipped with a Chroma module (at bottom left)

After about one second, the Chroma’s photosensor records the true color, storing it on the user’s iOS or Android phone as both a color photo and as a digital color code. NODE inventor George Yu tells us that most graphics programs recognize these codes, and will thus be able to reproduce the color on-screen. He adds that many major paint manufacturers offer apps that allow users to convert color photos – like the ones provided by the Chroma – into the company’s own color codes. Using those codes, the color could then be reproduced in a paint.

Practically-speaking, this means that users could conceivably scan the paint on one of their walls, then use the data to get a new can of color-matched paint. They could also scan a particularly nice rose, then utilize that color in the background on a webpage ... you get the idea.

Yu is currently raising production funds for the Chroma, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$75 will get existing NODE owners one of the modules, when and if they reach production. If you need a NODE too, a pledge of $149 will get you one with a Chroma module included.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Hmmm, I suppose you could always write down the number in the corner of that paint chip and save yourself a hassle.


While intriguing, I don't think this takes into consideration that perceived colors are dependent entirely on not only the ambient lighting---which this device purports to negate---but the color of objects in proximity to the color of the object which we are trying to duplicate. So-called "true" color is typically applicable to emitted light, not reflected light.

If, for example, you were to enter a model home by the builder of your choice, and you see a paint color on the wall in the dining room which strikes your fancy, you are perceiving the color of that paint based on the ambient room lighting and the reflected color of the objects around it, as well as how directly the light from the windows, electrical lighting and shadows are affecting that "true" color. Placing the Chroma directly against the paint and illuminating it with the neutral LEDs would certainly give you the paint's "true" color, but would not give you the color you saw when looking at it under those original and more natural lighting conditions---conditions which would almost certainly be impossible to recreate in your own home.

Rolf Hawkins
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