In his second year at the college he attended a cybernetics lecture given by Adam Montandon, who was a student at Plymouth University. After introducing himself to Montandon and explaining his condition the pair started to work on what became known as the eyeborg project.
What they came up with was a camera, mounted on Harbisson’s head that picks up colours and converts them in to sound waves. By memorising the different frequencies Harbisson became the first person in history with the ability to hear colors.
The eyeborg was further developed by Peter Kese, a Slovenian software developer. This further development meant that Harbisson can now perceive three hundred and sixty color hues through varying frequencies. Not only that by adjusting the volume levels accordingly he can also measure color saturation.
Here is more of the science, courtesy of YouTube.
The paintings are certainly a new take on old subjects. Below, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor is converted in to color. Harbisson has also used his eyeborg to help him paint the colors of the capital cities of Europe as well as a host of celebrities. His sound portraits are created by listening to the colors of faces with his eyeborg and then translating these sounds on to canvas.
Harbisson’s passport application was rejected on the grounds that his prosthetic was in the picture. There is a little irony here as Harbisson will not himself work from photographs when painting people - only real human faces as, it seems, photos produce different sounds.
Cyborg Head - Wikimedia