A Colourful Revolution by Dr. Abhay Sharma

Abhay Sharma article

A Colourful Revolution

Dr. Abhay Sharma

A new generation of phone- based spectros are disrupting measurement processes

Started by a group of McMaster graduates, Nix Sensor in Hamilton is a 25-employee organization that designs, fabricates, assembles, tests, and ships colour measurement devices to customers ranging from paint companies to cosmetics. Nix recently launched the Spectro 2, a fully functional low-cost spectrophotometer. Matthew Sheridan is the founder and CEO. He has assembled a team that has created game-changing, phone-based instruments; you’ll get the picture if you watched the recent Blackberry movie.

Measuring devices

In my Colour 101 class, I describe three categories of colour instrument: densitometer, colorimeter, and spectrophotometer (the names are indicative of what they measure). In printing, traditionally density measurements are used to monitor ink amounts on press. Recently, in- struments and press consoles have migrated to better, more visually relevant metrics, primarily Lab*. A spectrophotometer (spectro) meas- ures the spectrum of a printed colour which allows us to compute Lab* (and any other desired metric). A spectro is “backward compatible,” as it can report Lab* while also al- lowing readout of old-fashioned print density.

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