Neil Harbisson: I listen to color

Publication Title
TED Talks
Publication/Creation Date
July 20 2012
Neil Harbisson (creator)
Media Type
Web Series
Persuasive Intent
[Video Description: artist and self-confessed cyborg Neil Harbisson was born with a condition called achromatopsia, which means he can't see any colour (only in greyscale). In this TED Talk, he talks about the antenna that he had implanted into his skull at the age of 21, which allowed him to constantly HEAR the colours around him using bone conduction. This device detects the sound frequency of the entire range of colours (360 colours plus infared and ultraviolet). He began by having to memorize the tones of all the colours, but now it has become second nature. This antenna has become a permanent part of his body and identity. It allows him to experience the world differently through the senses. Everything becomes a symphony. For example, he now associates people's faces, clothing, art, and food with the colour tones (he mentions that he is dressed in "C Major" today). He also now associates sounds with colours (he mentions that he can now eat his favourite songs!) He uses this information to create his paintings and artwork].
HCI Platform
Discursive Type
Location on Body
Marketing Keywords
TED Talks, Cyborg Foundation

Date archived
March 22 2019
Last edited
October 28 2019
How to cite this entry
Neil Harbisson. (July 20 2012). "Neil Harbisson: I listen to color". TED Talks. TEDTalks. Fabric of Digital Life.