Imagine being born with a rare condition called Achromatopsia which makes you unable to see colors. If you had this colorblind condition in an extreme way, you’d only be able to see in black and white. Neil Harbisson has this, but he can see colors. Well, he can see them, but not with his eyes. He is able to hear colors. Each one has an audio. Have you ever wondered what color sounds like? There is a sample audio here in this article so you can listen to it for yourself.
Neil, a cyborgist and colourologist, uses a device called an Eyeborg which can translate about 360 hues of colors into sounds which are then fed right into his inner ear by bone conduction. Neil was born with complete colorblindness. He never got to experience what color sounds like until 2004, when he was an adult. I wonder what the first time was like for him, and if colors are as vivid via audio as they are via visuals.
In the TED talk video below, Neil explains this technology, and how he uses it to enhance his daily life. He can listen to faces and paintings, just like we might enjoy the colors of those things with our eyes. By knowing what each color sounds like, a whole new world of experiences has opened up for him.
Neil would like to have this device surgically implanted into him, but for now, it’s a sort of cybernetic third eye that attaches to his head. He wears it all the time. He’s so used to wearing the device that he doesn’t even think of it as a device any more. He thinks of it as part of his body. Neil even got into art school, and went on to study color theory. You can read more about his story on the source links below. Now you can see what color sounds like too. Just listen to the audio below. Amazing.