Neil Harbisson – the world’s first officially recognized cyborg

Neil Harbysson

Englishman Neil Harbisson can reasonably consider himself the first cyborg in the world, thanks to a special antenna implanted in his skull, with which he has acquired the ability to distinguish colors.

The fact is that the Nile congenital achromatopsia or complete color blindness, which completely deprived him of the ability to perceive colors. To help him came modern technology, with which he is connected by the nature of his activities.

Together with Adam Montandon, they developed the Eyebord device, consisting of an antenna connected to a 5 kg computer and headphones. Installed at the end of the antenna, the camcorder “translated” each color into 360 different sound waves that Neal could listen through headphones.

This phenomenon is called “induced synaesthesia,” a certain neurological condition that helps people to feel colors. However, in the case of Neil Harbisson, it is a question of sonochromataxy, when colors are identified with the help of appropriate sounds.

The first 5 weeks were the heaviest, as each sound was accompanied by a headache. Another five months, Neal learned to decode and “color” each frequency. A little later Eyebord was improved. The weight of the wearable on the computer’s body was reduced to 1 kg, the software was loaded into a chip placed under the skin. During the operation, the antenna was placed directly into the skull.

Today Neil defines not only colors – red, blue and green, but also light waves of the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum, which are beyond the limits of human vision.

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