Hearing colour

I found this article on the Beeb about a colour-blind artist who uses a robotic eye to “hear” colours. In his own words:

Until I was 11, I didn’t know I could only see in shades of grey. I thought I could see colours but that I was confusing them.

When I was diagnosed with achromatopsia [a rare vision disorder], it was a bit of a shock but at least we knew what was wrong. Doctors said it was impossible to cure.

When I was 16, I decided to study art. I told my tutor I could only see in black and white, and his first reaction was, “What the hell are you doing here then?” I told him I really wanted to understand what colour was.

I call that determination, but what I’m really interested in is the camera itself. It’s a webcam, a computer and headphones all connected together, and the original prototype only took 20 minutes to think up. Better still, it’s been extended to work in the infra-red and he plans to get the ultraviolet in there as well, so he can “hear” parts of the electromagnetic spectrum we can’t even see! How cool is that?


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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