Artist Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a condition that prevents him from seeing any type of color.
Research shows that nearly 7% of American men suffer from colorblindness, though it typically only consists of trouble telling red from green.
In 2004, Harbisson had his antenna permanently attached to his skull.
The antenna uses a camera to translate light frequencies into vibrations, that resonate with his skull, and are heard by his ears.
The antenna picks up more than your typical ROY G BIV however, it also picks up forms of invisible light—infrared and ultra-violet—and also has a Wi-fi receiver that allows him to receive information via the internet.
In 2014, he received the first image transmitted directly into the human brain, he was able to distinguish a selfie as a face.
What Does Color Sound Like?
Harbisson’s antenna currently can produce 360 tones depending on color, and varies the volume of each tone based on the saturation of the color being synthesized.
Since his transition, the artist has made a number of pieces inspired by his newly found sense, including a color concerto, an interpretation of European capitals by dominant color, and even sound portraits based on the colors he hears in people’s faces.
Since the antenna gives him a new sense, he classifies it as a part of his body, thus making him a cyborg.
Harbisson even won a court case in 2014 allowing him to include the antenna in his passport photo. He is the first person allowed to feature a cybernetic attachment in a passport.
Since his legal trouble, he’s also worked to promote cyborg awareness, speaking at conventions and even formed the Cyborg Foundation.
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