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How To Capture And Curate Colors You See Every Day

Making digital projects often means approximating hues you love in real life—often badly. Nix is a pocket-sized Bluetooth sensor that, unlike your phone’s camera, doesn’t let ambient light pollute the color you want to capture and reproduce. Better yet—it’s open source.

How To Capture And Curate Colors You See Every Day

Ever see the perfect color for your living room on a swath of street art? A wildflower? Photos give a general sense of the hue, but aren’t nearly precise enough. Enter Nix, a Bluetooth-connected color sensor that pipes color scans to an app on your smartphone. Never lose a sweet color again.

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The Nix fits in the palm of your hand like a large gem. To use, place it face down on the desired color: The sensor in the middle has its own light source, preventing ambient light from altering color readings (an issue with smartphone camera-based color-sensing apps). The Nix beams the reading to a paired app on your smartphone, which allows you to convert the color to other media (interior wall paints, oil paints, makeup, hobby paints, etc.) and can even populate an area map with paint stores selling your color.

The Nix aims to replace the fanned paint decks that professional designers haul around in heavy totes, but that’s only the tip of its applications. As they note in their Kickstarter page, the team was inspired by a friend’s work with burn victims and patients with severe skin disorders: Finding skin-matching makeup is a costly and extensive process, but with the Nix, costs dribble down to $200 a unit ($99 for early Kickstarter rate), allowing Nix to be shipped all over.

But at its core, the Nix is an open-source light sensor, meaning people have built and will continue to build weird applications for it. Want to see if your fruit is ripe? Set a shade preset for "optimum ripeness." Want to make sure your plants are getting the right amount of sun? Make a preset for ideal brightness. Whether one sensor in a suite or the core sensing element, Nix’s open source framework should be a playground for tinkerers, especially given its Bluetooth connectivity.

Two days after launch, the Nix has raised over $5,000 CAD of its $35,000 CAD goal and, if funded, plans to ship in February 2014.

[Image courtesy of Nix]