Vodafone’s “Firsts” lets you hear the colours

Mobile giant Vodafone and colour blind Spanish artist-musician Neil Harbisson collaborated to let us hear the music of colours as part of the “Firsts” programme aimed to demonstrate the potential for technology to enhance human experience.


Born with achromatopsia, Harbisson sees no colour. However, he developed an electronic eye, which he calls the ‘antenna’ —-that translate colours into different musical frequencies 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 the 42 members of the Palau’s Youth Choir and the Catalan Quartic String Quartet to ‘hear’ colours in the same way as he does.

You can check out the video below to see how they performed Harbisson musical score, playing and singing notes based only on the colours they saw on the tablet devices in front of them.

The European musician also developed an app that utilizes your smartphone’s camera to analyze colours and translate it into a sound which is played from the smartphone’s speaker so users can definitely decode how Harbisson experience the colours.

“To see other people performing colours for the first time was a thrilling feeling for me. For so long now I’ve been living in my own world, the only one hearing colour. It was so emotional to have other people come into my world for the first time,” said Neil Harbisson.

“Vodafone Firsts is about personal innovation and inspiring people to think in a new way. What I love about Neil’s First is that it takes mobile technology and uses it in a way no one has ever done before. It’s exactly that kind of innovation that we are celebrating with Vodafone Firsts,” according to Vodafone Group Brand Director Barbara Haase.


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