Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#TEDTalkTuesday Neil Harbisson: I Listen To Color

Today's TED talk features how the stuff of science fiction is slowly becoming reality.

Technology over the past couple of decades has advanced so much that technologies that used to seem centuries away are quickly becoming within reach.

Neil Harbisson is a composer, musician, an activist and a cyborg. Yes, part man and machine. Neil has a condition called Achromatopsia where he doesn't see color instead everything he views is in grayscale. When he was 21 he collaborated with a computer scientist to develop technology for him to experience color.

The technology they developed allows Neil to listen to color. Different tones are assigned to various colors to experience color as a symphony of sounds. 

Neil considers himself a cyborg because the antenna that allows him to hear color is connected to his brain. This is so much a part of his life that his passport photo shows him wearing his sensor. He even started the Cyborg Foundation which helps people become cyborgs.

It isn't that far-fetched to think that more people may be interested in having technology fused with their bodies. Bionic Eye which is an Australian company is developing a bionic eye for the visually impaired. This device is specifically targeted at helping those with Retinitis Pigmentosa and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The device is implanted into the retina of the eye where visual information is transmitted via the optic nerve allowing individuals to better navigate their surroundings.

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