A man who only sees black and white has created a device, called the “eyeborg,” that turns colors into audible tones.
It sounds like something straight out of a science-fiction movie: "Eyeborg."
Neil Harbisson, a 30-year-old artist and musician, was born with a condition calledachromatopsia, meaning the cone cells in his eyes don’t pick up color — so the world to him is, literally, black and white.
Since 2004, though, he’s experienced color through sound via a device he calls the "eyeborg" (see the photo below). It’s a cybernetic third eye of sorts that he keeps strapped to his head at all times. The device translates the wavelengths of different colors into audible tones, then sends them to Harbisson’s inner ears via bone conduction. The eyeborg can detect 360 different hues — not nearly as many as the normal human eye is capable of detecting, but still a lot better than no color at all.
"[The eyeborg] transposes color into a continuous electronic beep, exploiting the fact that both light and sound are made up of waves of various frequencies. Red, at the bottom of the visual spectrum and with the lowest frequency, sounds the lowest, and violet, at the top, sounds highest. A chip at the back of Harbisson’s head performs the necessary computations, and a pressure-pad allows color-related sound to be conducted to Harbisson’s inner ear through the vibration of his skull, leaving his outer ears free for normal noise"
The device works both ways, too. Harbisson is apparently so accustomed to colors becoming sound that he’s able to turn the tones from musical scores into paintings. Eventually, he tells Nautil.us, he’d even like to have the detector surgically implanted.
Watch the video to learn more about it.
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