A Completely Colorblind Man Who Uses Special Tech to Hear Colors

Produced as a part of The Connected Series, Hearing Colors, is a short film that explores the life of Neil Harbisson, a man who was born with achromatopsia that leaves 1 in 30,000 completely colorblind. Through an antenna-like object implanted into the back of his head, Harbisson is able to gain a comprehension of the colors around him by hearing distinct sounds.

Cyborg activist and artist. I’m totally colourblind, so I have an antenna implanted in my skull which allows me to hear colour frequencies – and even hear colours sent to me from space via satellite. …Hearing colours means I can listen to people’s faces, write down the different notes I hear, and create a sound portrait. Each face has its own chord – even twins sound different – but what we all have in common is the sound of our skin. People who say they are black are actually very, very dark orange, and people who say they are white are actually very light orange – so we are not black or white; we are all orange.

The five minute film, shot in black and white, gives the audience a sense of Harbisson’s artificially created one, letting us peer into how he sees humans, cities, and everyday life.

Hearing Colors was created by filmmaker Greg Brunkalla.