First person officially recognized as cyborg -- "superhuman" perception of light

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Francis Buck

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« on: August 30, 2015, 09:51:31 pm »


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Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition that leaves around 1 in 30,000 people completely colorblind. But Harbisson embraced the opportunities afforded by modern technology - and the human brain's ability to adapt its methods of perception - and convinced doctors to implant an antenna into the back of his head through which he can now 'hear colours' through bone conduction.

In what may be a landmark moment marking the change from biological and technological evolution in humans, Harbisson is the person to be officially recognized as a cyborg by a government. Furthermore, the antenna doesn't just compensate for a deficiency - it also augments his senses allowing him to perceive things most of us cannot: parts of the spectrum that are invisible to humans, such as infrareds and ultraviolets, as well as signals from phones and satellites.

"I am a cyborg. And cyborg comes from the union between 'cybernetics' and 'organism'. And that's how I feel... My antenna is a body part.

...Before, I realised that people made connections between things or objects, and I could not see the link between these two objects. For example, the colour of the sky and the colour of someone's eyes - in the greyscale world there's no connection.

Now that I can hear colour, I have such connections - and connections go beyond that as well. Because when I hear sounds I can relate the sound to an object or a colour. So if I hear the G# of a taxi, the horn of a taxi, that to me is related to lime, because it sounds just like a lime."

Do note, this guy is not the first cyborg, in fact there's been plenty and more are coming everyday -- cochlear implants for example. What makes this relatively unique (though I don't believe it's totally unprecedented) is that his cybernetic enhancements have actually allowed for his senses to extend beyond the capability of an exclusively biological human. Well, that and the government recognition, which is important in a different way.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 10:07:36 pm by Francis Buck »

Alia

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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 05:26:50 am »
A friend of mine has a cochlear implant and she often refers to herself a s a "cyborg".
The last time I heard about Neil, he was still wearing a headset to "hear colours" - now that's a development I haven't heard of.
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 01:55:59 pm »
A friend of mine has a cochlear implant and she often refers to herself a s a "cyborg".
The last time I heard about Neil, he was still wearing a headset to "hear colours" - now that's a development I haven't heard of.

when i put my hearing aids in, i imagine the bit from stars wars:

http://youtu.be/ONdLEqzhXOI

btw, sweet sweet story about a dad who got a tattoo of a cochlear implant when his daughter had a second implant put in:

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11492870

nice tat too