iOS app Android app

: Hacking Our Senses

WATCH: How a Colorblind Cyborg 'Hears' Color

  • 1443
  • 392
  • 172

  • Posted: 07/26/2013 8:00 AM
  • Updated: 07/30/2013

TED and The Huffington Post are excited to bring you TEDWeekends, a curated weekend program that introduces a powerful "idea worth spreading" every Friday, anchored in an exceptional TEDTalk. This week's TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from the featured speaker, along with new op-eds, thoughts and responses from the HuffPost community. Watch the talk above, read the blog post and tell us your thoughts below. Become part of the conversation!

__________________________________________

Since 2004, an antenna sticks out of my head that allows me to hear the color spectrum, from near infrared to near ultraviolet. My head has turned into a music box. I can hear the sky, I can listen to my mother's eyes and I can hear rainbows.

2013-07-25-harbisson1.jpg
Photo credit: Red Bulletin/Dan Wilton.


I don't feel that I'm using technology, I don't feel that I'm wearing technology, I feel that I am technology. I don't perceive my antenna as a device, I perceive it as a part of my body, I perceive it as an organ.

I feel cyborg.

Becoming a cyborg is not only a life decision; it's an art statement. Cyborgism is the art of creating and extending your own senses, it's about treating your own body and brain as your own sculpture.

2013-07-25-harbisson2.jpg
Photo credit: Red Bulletin/Dan Wilton.


By installing this cybernetic eye in my head I've actually transformed my own body into a musical instrument as I can play music by looking at things now.

I can give color concerts by pointing my antenna at peoples's faces or by playing colored socks. Since I hear color, I feel my life has been transformed into a poem.

2013-07-25-harbisson3.jpg
Photo credit: Red Bulletin/Dan Wilton.


My perception of beauty and music has also changed. I now enjoy listening to electronic music such as Sega Bodega, as his smooth progression of sounds takes me into a world of subtle colors.

By installing this cybernetic eye in my head I've actually transformed my own body into a musical instrument as I can play music by looking at things now. -- Neil Harbisson

And I enjoy listening to people's faces as well. Some people sound unusually melodic. Listening to Samuel Nicolausson's face for example, is a hypnotic experience, his face sounds like Bach's "Prelude in C Major."

Beauty canons don't only depend on shape but also on color harmony.

One of the exciting things about being a cyborg is that age won't degenerate your senses, the older you get the better your senses will be as technology keeps improving day by day.

2013-07-25-harbisson4.jpg
Photo credit: Red Bulletin/Dan Wilton.


Software updates aside, becoming a cyborg makes me feel closer to animals, not robots. Having an antenna makes me feel closer to insects, hearing through bone conduction makes me feel closer to dolphins, perceiving ultraviolet makes me feel closer to bees. Becoming a cyborg can help us perceive reality in a better way, it can help us extend our perception to the level of other animal species and bring us back to nature.

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today's most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend's ideas to contribute as a writer.

 
  • 1443
  • 392
  • 172