Neil Harbisson was born with a rare condition called achromatopsia that lets him perceive nothing but black and white in colors. Since almost a decade, the color-blind Harbisson has been developing a device called ‘eyeborg’ that lets him hear colors as sounds. His device comprises a camera that curls over his head, reading colors and converting the input into particular sounds. The process is very identical to synaethesia – a process that mixes yup sensory inputs leading to conditions wherein a person perceives numbers as colors.
The ‘Eyeborg’ previously sent sounds to the wearer via an audio unit at the base of head to carry sound from the skull to the eardrums. With this version, Neil should be able to receive much more nuanced signals directly carrying the vibrations to his eardrums. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections shall beam these images directly to Neil without the camera, thus christening him as the first human on Earth to feel an image without first seeing it.
Speaking at the 2012 TED event in Edinburgh, Neil states that he actually had to persuade a lot many doctors to proceed with the required operations. Before a demonstration at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, he said that this ‘Eyeborg’ is not a new product or a new technology that’s being launched, but a presentation of whole new body part that lets users extend their senses to whole new levels.
Watch this TED talk to know more about Eyeborg-