For Neil Harbisson, all flowers are grey and the whole world is black and white. The 35-year-old suffers from achromatopsia, or total colour blindness. But Neil Harbisson can do something different instead: hear colours. This is made possible by his eyeborg, which he developed in 2003 with cybernetics pioneer Adam Montandon ((verlinken)). And Neil Harbisson’s abilities don’t end there: he is also a very skilled entertainer.
The antenna, implanted in his skull, translates colours into sounds. He even sees colours which people with “normal” vision cannot perceive, such as infrared and ultraviolet.
The best explanation of his device is given by Neil himself in his TED talk, which so far has attracted more than half a million views.
Conversely, Harbisson also translates the sounds of music, language or other noises into colours. There is a video on the ARTE channel which looks at this fascinating subject and resolves the issue of the colour of pop music.
Neil Harbisson’s keynotes are fascinating and entertaining in equal measure. The Volvo Art Session is particularly delighted to welcome this bridge builder between present and future.