World’s First Cyborg: Neil Harbisson!

  • Neil Harbisson can hear images and paint sounds, all thanks to the antenna implanted in his skull

Artist Neil Harbisson wears an antenna that allows him to “hear” color through vibrations in his skull.

Technology today is evolving at such a rapid pace. Enabling faster change and progress and adapting to the latest worldwide trends is a must in this digital era. Moreover, Contributing to the era of sustainable discoveries and inventions, meet Neil Harbisson, a British man who has an antenna implanted in his head.

In addition, Neil Harbisson, 33, has a closer relationship with technology than even the most avid smartphone user. Far from a disability, Harbisson considers his natural world-view to be a plus point.

Who is Neil Harbisson?

Neil Harbisson is a Spanish-born British-Irish cyborg artist and activist for transpecies rights based in New York City. Born with the inability to see color, Neil Harbisson wears a prosthetic device that he calls an “eyeborg”. The device allows him to hear the spectrum, even those colors beyond the range of human sight.

As a matter of fact, Neil Harbisson has been completely colorblind his whole life. He wears an antenna that allows him to hear color through vibrations in his skull. He has an antenna implanted in his head that allows him to hear colors. The implanted antenna senses the light frequencies and sends them to the chip that converts the light frequencies to sound which is further sent directly to Harbisson’s skull. His antenna sends audible vibrations to his skull, to report information to him. In addition, radiations, calls, music, videos, and even images are audible.


Harbisson has a condition called “achromatopsia”, that allows him to see only black, white, and shades of grey. The antenna has been permanently attached to Harbisson’s head since 2004. In 2013, he got an upgraded version with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi that can receive image data remotely. The antenna also allows internet connection and therefore the reception of colour from other sensors or from satellites.

In the years after he began wearing the eyeborg, Harbisson went from complete color-blindness to the ability to decipher colors like red, green, and blue. He could even detect colors like infrared and ultraviolet, which are outside of the spectrum of human vision.

What is Cyborg Technology?

A cyborg is a system in which the control mechanisms of the human portion are modified externally by drugs or regulatory devices so that the person can live in an environment different from the normal one. Cyborg technology has advanced to the point where it’s safe to say that bionic humans are no longer the stuff of science fiction.

Furthermore, the word cyborg revolves around how humans see their interactions with technology. A person could be considered a cyborg when they are outfitted with wearable technologies. However, cyborgs in fictional terms seem to be humans with IT components.

Harbisson explains that he considers the antenna a part of his body just like any other body part. “The software is a part of my mind, and the antenna is a part of my body,” he says. “I don’t feel that I’m using technology; I don’t feel that I’m wearing technology—I feel that I am technology.”


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