'I share a body part with insects, with all animals that sense infrared”, Neil Harbisson said about living with his antenna, a device permanently attached to his skull. “As a cyborg, I'm feeling closer to nature than to machines.'
Harbisson, who was born colorblind, decided to have the antenna implanted without legal regulations in place about a decade ago, breaking many boundaries and challenging common concepts of humans interacting with technology. His device, bending from the back of his head to his forehead, translates the dominant color in front of him into a specific sound, enabling him to identify fashion, food and even human faces in an entirely new way. 'People who are white are actually very, very light orange', Harbisson said. 'People who are black are very, very dark orange. There is no black and white.'
His antenna, which is only the most visible part of an internet-enabled system connected to his brain, has been perceived as a reading light, mobile phone and selfie stick and frequently gets him in trouble at airports. Harbisson’s girlfriend has also become a cyborg, wearing various chips including a 'bluetooth tooth' she shares with him. It sends and receives vibrations made by clicking teeth to the mobile phone, enabling the couple to communicate via Morse code. Harbisson has enabled five friends around the world to access his antenna device and send him sounds. He got hacked once, when a stranger sent him colors straight to his brain after he had been logged onto public wifi: 'An interesting experience.'
Now trying to establish a ‘Cyborg Foundation’ pushing for legal guidelines, Harbisson is permanently expanding the technical parts embedded with his body. His sound impression of me Convention: 'C-sharp with a high pitch that gives you an alert.”