Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind and sees the world in grayscale. But Neil can't see color doesn't mean he can't sense it. That's because Neil Harbisson is a cyborg who can hear color.
In 2004, Neil convinced a doctor to implant into his skull an antenna that detects and transposes colors into corresponding tones - allowing him to hear color through bone conduction. He considers it a new body part.
Advertisement"This is an implant, so it's permanently attached. There's no way of removing it," says Neil. As co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation and one of several known cyborgs on this planet, Neil expects humans to be more open to the idea of implanting technology into their bodies in the near future.
Harbisson is the son of a Catalan mother and an Irish father. He began to compose piano pieces at the age of 11 and, at 16, began studying fine art at the Institut Alexandre Satorras, where he was given special permission to use no colour in his work. His early works are all in black and white and these were the only colours he used to wear.
At the age of 18, Harbisson climbed a tree in Mataró to save three trees from being felled. He lived in the tree for several days, supported by over 3,000 people who signed a petition to maintain the trees. After days of protest, the city hall announced the trees would not be cut.
In September 2001, Harbisson moved to Ireland to finish his piano studies at Dublin's Waltons New School of Music. In 2002, he moved to England to study music composition at Dartington College of Arts.
Since 2004, international media has described him as the world's first cyborg or the world's first cyborg artist, for expressing himself artistically through a new sense created by the permanent union between cybernetics and his brain.