For those who can only see the world in black and white, color must be a mystery. Now a new piece of technology has been developed to allow people who cannot perceive color to hear it. This has also led to some interesting sonic-video compositions.
A small proportion of the population cannot see color, instead they view the world as mono-chromatic (shades of grey). One such individual is Neil Harbisson, who was born in Barcelona, Spain.
As reported in The Telegraph, when he was in his 20's, Harbisson had a fortuitous meeting with a cyberneticist called Adam Montandon, (who was based at the University of Plymouth, UK). When Harbisson described the way he saw the world the two of them decided to undertake a technological experiment designed to help Harbisson to perceive colors.
After considering different options, Montandon was inspired by the physical similarities of light and sound. From this Montadon and Harbisson created a device modelled on a computer webcam which translated the light waves that correspond to different colors into sounds with different pitches. They dubbed the device, according to The Sun, the "eyeborg".
By practicing with the device, Harbisson learnt several color/pitch associations. According to The Scientist, Harbisson can hear colors of wavelengths not visible to the human eye, such as those in the infrared.
From this pioneering work, Harbisson's has gone to create a series of short films and videoart works based on the relationship between colour and sound and the relationship between humans and colour.
Here is one of them: