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Things that show color in the night

Boston firm's goggles use technology that gives military the ability to see much more in the dark

By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff  |  March 22, 2007

The world's a colorful place for most of us -- but not for a soldier peering through night-vision goggles, or a colorblind traveler using a computerized weather map. A company on the docks of South Boston is helping both kinds of people see the world in all of its hues.

Tenebraex Corp., which has developed vision protection systems for the military since 1992, is about to introduce color night-vision goggles. The technology, called ColorPath, combines a standard scope with a pair of rotating filters that vary the intensity of light coming from different colored objects. The brain interprets these variations as differences in color, enabling the viewer to recognize red and blue objects obscured by the green glow of today's night scopes.

For those born color blind, Tenebraex offers eyePilot, a $35 software program that sorts out the information contained in color-coded computer graphics.

Former professional photographer Peter Jones co founded Tenebraex with former Polaroid Corp. advertising executive Dennis Purcell.

"Dennis and I are very aggressive generalists," said Jones. "We try and know a little bit about a lot of things."