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SwatchMate Cube lets you capture and reproduce colors


January 7, 2014

I think I'd like to go with a nice, leafy green

I think I'd like to go with a nice, leafy green

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Have you ever seen something while you were out walking around, and thought "That's just the color I'd like to paint my living room"? Well, if you had a SwatchMate Color Capturing Cube, you could act on that thought. It lets you sample colors as you come across them, so you can exactly reproduce them on a graphics program or even in a paint store.

To use the Cube you just hold it up to the colored surface that you want to copy, and press the top of the device. An internal spherical light source illuminates the surface in a controlled sequence, with the reflected light being picked up by an integrated color sensor.

After a few seconds, once the Cube's flashing red indicator light turns to green, you know that the task is complete. The device will immediately send the color to your paired iOS or Android smartphone, or to a program like PhotoShop on a nearby desktop computer, although it can also store up to 20 colors in its own onboard memory.

If you're using it to create a paint color, the app will let you know which color codes to use, from several major paint brands.

The SwatchMate Color Capturing Cube is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, although its Melbourne-based creators have taken the rather unusual step of launching a second campaign on Indiegogo, as a temporary means of taking orders until their e-shop is up and running. You can preorder one now for AUD$85 (about US$80).

The NODE Chroma module, incidentally, does almost exactly the same thing – although users also need to purchase the base NODE device, so it's a little more expensive.

The Cube can be seen in use in the video below.

Sources: Indiegogo, SwatchMate

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

Great idea. I have used my digital camera for similar purposes, but i doubt it is as accurate as I wish.


This widget that might offer professional users some value except that there are no performance numbers mentioned here. However for the casual user this is just an expensive toy that will disappear into a drawer somewhere. I think that an adequate level of performance for casual users and even for many pros can be accomplished with a good quality cell phone camera and a colour swatch sample card held adjacent to the desired colour source. The swatch card serves as a known reference for a fairly simple to use program to gauge the photo by. Translating numbers to the schemes used by paint manufacturers is the next challenge and requires info from them to get to a reliable paint.


Yep, this comes under the heading of beautifully solving a problem that nobody has.


If this little cube can distinguish different textures, shiny/flat colors, and small patterns in multi-colors, it would be fun to use.


I have problems with colour "recreation" in my job. Most of these problems stem from, differing processes, materials and surfaces. God forbid the day someone comes in with one of these and says here's the information you need to make this specific colour. It won't look like that colour of leaf because I'm not making a leaf. For close enough applications that's cool though :)

Craig Jennings

I live with blind people who constantly need to know what colour wool, material, etc. is.

Chris Pearton
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