Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Color Blind artist Learns to Paint by Hearing
According to an article on the Times Online, Neil Harbisson is a color-blind (Black & white sight only) artist who has recently been given the ability to paint with a full range of colors using a small gadget that allows him to "hear" the hue of the color pallette. He has been fitted with a device called an Eyeborg, which converts 360 colours into different sounds.
"As an art student at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, he painted only in black and white because that is all he saw. But three years ago he met Adam Montandon, a cybernetics expert who came to give a lecture at the college.
After the talk, Montandon was told of Harbisson’s condition and he took up the challenge of solving the problem, enabling Harbisson to paint in colour. The artist suffers from achromatopsia – or complete congenital colour blindness.
Montandon created the Eyeborg system, which is a head-mounted digital camera that reads the colours directly in front of it. The camera is connected to a laptop computer, carried in a backpack, which slows down the frequency of light waves to the frequency of sound waves. The computer then sends the “sound” of each colour to an earpiece worn by Harbisson. Montandon expects the system eventually to be as small as an MP3 player."
How it works
1. Lens examines colour artist is looking at
2. Computer analyses colour and calculates an equivalent sound frequency
3. Earpiece emits a noise to tell artist which colour he is looking at
4. Artist has to learn which sounds identify particular colours