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By jo

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Hearing a Colour Wheel

Neil Harbisson is, quite literally, a man who has always viewed life in black and white. The 22-year-old Spaniard, who moved to Totnes in south Devon in 2003, was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition that affects only one person in 33,000 and causes monochromatism, or complete colour blindness.

But last year, he was able to see - or, more accurately, hear - colours for the first time. Neil has been fitted with a machine that turns colours into soundwaves, with a different sound representing each hue. The Eye-Borg, as it is known, features a head-mounted digital camera that reads the colours in front of Neil and converts them into sound. A scale of musical tones represents the spectrum of colours - light hues are high-pitched, while darker colours sound bolder. It is, in a way, forced synaesthesia; its creator, 24-year-old digital multimedia expert Adam Montandon, describes the invention as "like hearing a colour wheel".

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