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28 February 2014

portrait photo of musician Neil Harbisson wearing his

Neil Harbisson wearing his "antenna"

In 2004 Neil Harbisson and Adam Montandon developed The Eyeborg - an electronic ‘eye’ that allows colours to be perceived as sounds. The Eyeborg is a small sensor placed at eye level, held in place with a cable that transports colour information to a computer or chip. The electromagnetic light waves are turned into sound frequencies that are heard as musical notes.

In partnership with Vodafone, Harbisson has now recorded the colours of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica using mobile technology to compose a unique score.

With Eyeborg sonochromatic perception, learnt through memorising the frequencies associated with each colour, Neil can interpret colours as different musical frequencies. The device, which he calls his 'antenna,' converts light into higher or lower-pitched tones that Harbisson hears through bone conduction.

Now, with Vodafone’s support, Harbisson has composed a piece of music based on the colours of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica, and has taught an orchestra and choir to ‘hear’ colours in the same way as he does.

In a world first, 42 members of the Palau’s Youth Choir and the Catalan Quartic String Quartet performed his musical score, playing and singing notes based only on the colours they saw on the tablet devices in front of them. The tablets were centrally controlled – or conducted – by Neil Harbisson

Through mobile technology, Harbisson was able to record the colours of the Palau de la Musica using a tablet. He then composed the score on a similar device, and directed his musicians using his tablet to beam different colours simultaneously to members of the choir and string quartet.

Harbisson has also developed an app to allow people to experience colour in the same way as him. It uses a smartphone’s camera to analyse colour and transform it into a sound that is played through the smartphone’s speaker. Please click on this link to find out more about the Eyeborg 

A world first, Harbisson’s concert is the latest of many stories that make up Vodafone Firsts: A programme about inspiring people to do something remarkable for the first time with the help of mobile technology. More about Neil’s story and others can be found at www.firsts.com

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