Friday, August 3, 2012

Seeing color in terms of sound

(Video link) Artist Neil Harbisson was born without color vision. But thanks to a special device that turns colors into sounds, he can perceive colors in terms of tones and chords.

In this video, he describes what it's like to feel your brain remap itself and to become a cyborg.
Thanks, Yeevon


Vicki said...

Isn't that the kind of thing that LSD does? Makes some sort of alteration in brain pathways so that you see sounds or experience words as color and/or tone?

I have also read about people who always see distinct colors for numbers or letters. They say they see the colors in a consistent way: the number 7 is always grey-green, or some such thing.
The human brain is a marvelous apparatus.

James Gurney said...

Yes, it's similar to synesthesia.

where neural activity in certain visual areas prompts a response in auditory areas. It also reminds me of the computer visualization programs that turn music into patterns of light.

Nathan T said...

I've wondered for a long time whether a device could be made that would translate webcam images into sound for the completely blind. I found out recently that such a device has already been made, but I'm convinced it can be made better.

The device I found generates a sound burst that lasts about a second long, which means your "vision" is only about 1 FPS.

Lydia Burris said...

I love instances where senses not only mix, but go beyond standard perception.
I have also heard of someone surgically implanting magnets into their fingertips (and thus could sense electromagnetic fields), and there's a group that created a belt you wear continuously for roughly 6 months that allows you to feel true north. ( )

Meera Rao said...

Totally fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

Roger Tallada said...

Very interesting. I used to see him around town (MatarĂ³, close to Barcelona) some years ago. I thought he was some kind of obnoxious video blogger until I found out what that device really was!

Somebody should introduce him to the Radiolab guys.