Video about the real cyborg who "hears colors" via his antenna implant

[Read the post]

That’s so awesome! Great mix of an interesting person, art, tech…

Related note… been really enjoying the videos of colorblind fixing glasses.


Implants like this are neat- I just wish there was better integration. The transmission of color to sound is cool workaround for this colorblindness, but there’s been some good work with retinal stimulation, so it’d be better (I’d think) to (eventually) be able to go that route and have him actually see colors.
Though I’d be the first to admit that his computer-implemented synesthesia is super-duper cool. Hell, he can hear colors well outside of what I can see (ultra violet and infrared).

1 Like

There are also experiments, so far working promisingly on monkeys, about gene therapy of retina that adds the missing receptors or converts part of the existing ones. It could be interesting to extend this to humans, and then as soon as possible to near-infrared as fourth color to see.

Because seeing in near-IR could be pretty useful. The squeals of bioethicists and their ilk about such augmentation Being Horribly Wrong would be just icing on the cake.

They just had to make him look like an anglerfish? No other design options?


I want to see IN ALL THE COLORS.

Give them to me.


I am afraid we have to team up and take them. Little chance anybody will just give us something of such tactical usefulness.

We need a lab. And some interns.

Grad students. That what those are for, right?

We’ll give them “credit in the paper” when the results go public.


Especially Jale and Ulfire.

1 Like

The gene therapy seems to work with spider monkeys, but they have the advantage of already having the retinal circuitry in place to use input from additional receptors. Long story… but although male spider monkeys are dichromats, a proportion of females have trichromacy, so they are all wired for it.

Harbisson was a guest speaker at a colour vision conference a few years ago. The clinicians in the audience were naturally interested in what form of achromatopsia was affecting him, since he did not display any of the other signs of the condition. At that point, alas, he became evasive about the nature of his colour deficiency.


Why is this cyborg not “seeing” colors like the blind people “see” things with their tounge modules? I was hoping this guy had similar experiences.

1 Like

A proportion of human females are tetrachromats. (See the “fifty shades of yellow” problem.)

So there’s a good chance that we’re wired for the additional inputs as well.

1 Like

Well this all sounds very attention-seeking considering his other stories :frowning:

Ah yes, but whether any of them are functional tetrachromats – using the additional information from a fourth cone class – is still a moot point. The retinal circuitry to use the information and make extra colour distinctions is evidently not usually present.

Are we sure this gentleman isn’t just an Orkan pretending to be a colorblind human?

1 Like

I should explain. Colour-vision people are full of morbid curiosity. Thing is, there are many forms of achromatopsia. There are peripheral kinds like rod achromacy and blue-cone achromacy where the cones in the retina are broken (the late lamented Kurt Nordby was a rod achromat). Then there is central achromatopsia where the colour information gets as far as the visual cortex but for some reason is not consciously accessible. We are far more interested in the phenomenology of Harbisson’s experience than in boring stuff about the gadgets he’s using.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.