Hearing colour: The world’s first cyborg artist

Photo of Neil Harbisson from his TED talkSynaesthesia is a condition whereby two or more of our usually-separate five senses become linked. (I’ve a couple of mild, common forms of it; numbers and days of the week have colours in my mind. You can test yourself to see if you might be a synaesthete at www.synesthete.org — and even train yourself to be a synaesthete.) Some synaesthetes perceive sounds as having colour — Bb might sound blue to them, or C# yellow.

Neil Harbisson, founder of the Cyborg Foundation, was born with total colour blindness. But thanks to an electronic eye — a sensor that detects the colour frequency in front of him and sends this frequency to a chip installed in a bone in the back of his head, he can “hear” the colour in front of him. This ‘eyeborg’, created by cybernetics expert Adam Montandon, makes use of neuroplasticity and the idea of synaesthesia to synaptically remap Harbisson’s brain to recognise 360 distinct hues by the tones they produce. He claims he dresses these days for the chords he wants to hear from his clothes.

Watch Neil’s TED talk below:Watch movie online John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

[Photo courtesy of TED.com]

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