Friday, May 02, 2008

Cyborg sensation: "Bridging the Island of the Colourblind"

Adam Montandon's blog: I've written previously about Adam Montandon's "eyeborg" project to help a colourblind man who can see only black and white. He's written an article that describes how he has accomplished this by mathematically transposing light waves to an audible wavelength. The software converts an average RGB value for a given sample into Hue, Saturation and Brightness. Each hue (360 of them) was assigned a sound frequency in order to "hear" the colours. Montandon writes, "The project I have created exists in outside the traditional domain of computer culture of physical installation. I have created a new sensation, a cyborgian extension of the human perception system residing in the brain of on student. Neil Harbisson.

"I first met Neil at Dartington College of Arts whilst I was giving a talk on practical cyborg techniques and applications. Neil was especially interested in my earlier MyBorg project work that allowed me to extend my sensory system with 16 additional digital nerves including 4 light sensors on my back that allowed me to “see behind me” or to follow the cliché more closely “have eyes in the back of my head”. Neil became very excited about this idea.

"He explained to me that he had a rare condition of achromatopsia (a rare hereditary vision disorder which affects 1 person in 33,000). One of the effects to achromatopsia is monocharmatism, the inability to perceive colour. To him the world was black and white."


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