He Saw the World in Black and White. Now He Sees in Sound.

Imagine a world where a beautiful scene of a pond, floating flowers, and a bridge was not in many shades of blue, green and yellow.

Monet’s Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge (United States Public Domain)

Instead, it was in shades of gray.

It’s still beautiful, but it’s very different.

Meet Neil Harbisson, an artist and musician who was born with achromatopsia, a disorder that means he only sees in grayscale and is unable to see color. As a young musician, Neil approached Adam Montandon after a Cybernetics lecture about perceiving color with sound. This collaboration became the Eyeborg project. Neil’s device translates color frequencies into sound frequencies. The device translates color into sound with an antenna, software, and an implant that is connected to his skull. The vibrations translate into sound with bone conduction.

Neil’s gone from a world where everyone saw something he was unable to see – color. It was right there, yet it was invisible to him. Now, the opposite is true. With the eyeborg device, Neil is able to see and feel more than our normal human senses.