Until Neil Harbisson was 11, he didn’t know I could only see in shades of grey. He thought he could see colours but that he was confusing them. When he was diagnosed with achromatopsia [a rare vision disorder], it was a bit of a shock but at least he knew what was wrong. Doctors said it was impossible to cure. At university he went to a cybernetics lecture by Adam Montandon, a student from Plymouth University, and asked if he could create something so he could see colour. Montandon came up with a simple device, made up of a webcam, a computer and a pair of headphones and created software that would translate any colour in front of Harbisson into a sound.
Date: November 11, 2014
1) Neil Harbisson has an antenna surgically implanted into his skull that enabled him to “hear” colour. What sort of cyborg implant could you use?
2) What are the ethical issues surrounding cybernetic technology enhancements? Neil Harbisson is correcting a deficiency in his brain functionality, which most people have no problem at all. Where might the boundaries of what “normal” functionality is become blurry such that people have essentially cosmetic cybernetic technology enhancements?