Meet Neil, A Real-Life Cyborg Who Hears Colours

Twenty-eight-year-old Neil Harbisson has achromatopsia, which means he only sees in black and white. You'll notice in his photo however, that he's wearing a camera mounted to his head. This converts colours into soundwaves - making him "hear" colours.

It's almost like a form of synaesthesia, where one of the forms makes people see colours for specific letters or numbers. Harbisson became a "cyborg" after meeting a fellow student while at university in England, who worked on it with a Slovenian software developer, fine-tuning it to the point where he can now see 360 colour hues, as well as colour saturation.

Considering he's an artist, studying fine arts at school, being able to see colour has helped him immensely - with the painting below being his interpretation of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, taking the soundwaves he hears from the music, and converting it into colour. [Wikimedia via Kuriositas]


    I feel bad for that poor guy from Radiohead.

    But how does he know what sound means what color if he can't see the colors to match to the sounds?

    I bet a kaleidoscope would give him a head ache!

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