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14 November 2011, 12:26

ColorHug open source colour management announced

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A ColorHug in action sampling a display
Source: Hughski Limited
Developer Richard Hughes has announced the development of ColorHug, an open source colorimeter for measuring the colours displayed on a screen and creating a colour profile. Hughes began working on colour management in Linux two years ago and decided to create the device after finding that existing hardware was closed and proprietary. He wanted to make colour management accessible to end users and, with a background in electronics, set about designing the hardware.

His ColorHug device is cheaper and faster than proprietary devices, taking 80 seconds to sample a screen; its nearest-priced proprietary competitor takes five minutes. Hughes' company Hughski Limited is producing and selling the ColorHug, with software and USB cable, for £60, though pre-orders will get a 20 per cent discount "on the understanding that you're helping out testing the hardware and software".

The ColorHug is designed to work only with LCD and LED displays and is a 32mm x 43mm x 21mm device. It contains a sensor with 9 pixels – 3 red, 3 green, 3 blue – and "effectively counts photons"; it is this count that allows the true colour of the display to be established and then, after 400 samples are taken, it is used to create an ICC profile. For simplicity, the software is supplied as a Linux LiveCD but can be run on an existing installation of Fedora 16. The display.icc files that it produces can be used on Windows or Mac OS X. There are no Windows or Mac OS X drivers for the device.

The design schematics, firmware and client software for the device are all available from a gitorious repository and all materials are licensed under the GPLv2 or later.


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