Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiration Mondays: I Heard a Scarf

I stumbled across this video today. It's one of Vodafone's Firsts, a series of videos in which they help people to do things for the first time. I encourage you to watch it all the way through. It is about a man who is colourblind, but has a special antennae that converts the wavelength of different colours into sounds.

He HEARS colour.

And not only does he hear colour: he composes with it. And he found a way to share that experience with other people. And he put together a concert to share how he perceives the world. I found it very moving. After the concert is finished, he says through his own tears, "It feels like we're sharing the same world."


There was an app developed for him. It's called Eyeborg (currently only available on Android). I downloaded it, and started playing with it. I aimed my phone's camera at different colours in the room, and it played back different sounds for each colour. It was fascinating. I swivelled around, pointing at different things, figuring out how to capture a "score." And then, my eyes lit upon this:


It's a scarf. It belonged to one of my best friends, Sarah. She passed away not long ago, and her sister gave it to me at her memorial. Sarah was wearing it in a photo we took together shortly before her death.

So, I started aiming my phone towards it, listening to each tone. The app is quite sensitive: it will detect even the smallest change in light, so you get half-tones, sweeping up and down like a guitar string being tuned up and down. I kept playing with it, learning each colour's sound, humming along as I learned...

Eventually, I played a song. I can hear it still.

The unfortunate thing is that the app doesn't record your music. Maybe someday it will. For now, I am grateful for it, because now, when I look at this scarf draped over my bookshelf, I hear a song, short and wistful.

And it belongs to Sarah.

Today, I am inspired by people who find new ways to look at the world, and who work hard to share it with other people. I am amazed by this new way of perceiving things. And this app might seem like a silly little toy, but it makes me hungry for more colours, and makes me want to know what they sound like: I want to experience each tone, hue and shade with my eyes and my ears. And I wonder what new things I can create with this.

See/hear you later.

2 comments:

  1. Neat Post! I will have to try it out on my friends Android!

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    1. It's pretty cool. I'll forwarn you to turn down the volume a bit before you play with it. It's kind of disconcerting at first!

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