When we first heard about this video we thought it was a lecture on synesthesia, the condition where people can hear or even taste specific colours. But the film, part of the illustrious TED Talks online lecture series, is in fact about something even more startling. Neil Harbisson was born with a rare form of total colour blindness which leaves him in, as he puts it, “a grayscale world.” At 21 he was fitted with a headset – his ‘eyeborg’ – which transforms colours into distinguishable audio frequencies, allowing him to experience the world as a symphony of colour.
“I can go to an art gallery and listen to a Picasso,” is just one of the revelations he presents in the video lecture, as well as joking that where once he dressed to look good, now he dresses to sound good. The talk is a revelation, challenging one’s ideas of ‘seeing’, colour and how the ever-adaptable brain perceives the world around us. Hear the talk in full at TED, or click the main image above.