Matthew Sheridan: Nix Color Sensor

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

The ability to match, formulate, correct and control the quality of colour is a vital function in many industries including textiles, cosmetics, computer imaging, commercial paints and graphic design. Traditionally, every colour measurement method, from spectrophotometers to fans of paint colours, has been costly, difficult to transport and largely inaccurate due to varying light conditions and human error.

Matthew Sheridan came up with the idea for a ping pong ball-sized colour sensor after watching friends in the interior design industry hauling around heavy, expensive paint decks. He put his engineering knowledge to work to develop a prototype, with help from former solar-car teammates from McMaster University, support from the Hamilton-based Innovation Factory, and funding from a Kickstarter campaign that raised $70,000.

The result was the Nix Color Sensor, the first hand-held colour sensor designed to be a smartphone accessory. Using Bluetooth low energy technology, the device can scan surfaces to quickly get a colour reading, save colours for future reference or sharing, test colour quality by comparing scanned colours to known values, and convert between any colour system in the world. Nix Sensor Ltd. has sold over 1,000 units to colour professionals in 31 countries. Realizing the potential of technology, Matthew is exploring niche projects worldwide with partners in a range of industries.

Mr. Sheridan was the Manning Innovation Awards’ 2015 David E Mitchell Award of Distinction winner.

2015 Award of Distinction Winner - Matthew Sheridan - Nix Color Sensor

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Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Since 1982, The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation has been creating a culture of innovation in Canada by discovering, celebrating and rewarding Canadian innovators of all ages. We tell the stories of Canadian innovators who are improving the lives of Canadians and others around the world through their commercialized innovations.