What’s It Like To Hear Color? TED Radio Gives Medical Innovation a New Perspective



We have highlighted several videos from TED conferences.  The topics are thought provoking and involve some of the greatest innovative thinkers.  Started in 1984 highlighting the convergence of technology, entertainment and design, the TED following has developed into an innovation champion with TEDx and local conferences springing up in cities around the world.  We enjoy sharing the talks we have heard and seen.  So, it was a nice surprise to hear a TED program on NPR this week.  The show highlighted the innovation of sound implementation to enhance the visual experience of a color blind artist.

The technology developed was exciting and the concept that we can innovate technology to enable someone to use their own creativity to its fullest capacity broadens the human experience and our culture exponentially.

The program is “Neil Harbisson: What’s It Like To Hear Color?” It is the amazing tale of a color blind young man that gains the ability to take his creative skills to an unprecedented level through medical innovation.


(click to go directly to TED video)

The NPR description: Neil Harbisson is an artist, cyborgist and colorologist. His unique experience of color informs his artwork, which before his device the “eyeborg” was strictly black and white. By working with cyberneticist Adam Montandon, Harbisson helped design a lightweight eyepiece that he wears on his forehead that transposes the light frequencies of color hues into sound frequencies. Harbisson’s artwork blurs the boundaries between sight and sound. In his sound portraits series, he listens to the colors of faces to create a microtonal chord. In the City Colours project, he expresses the capital cities of Europe in two colors.

Radio: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=283441986&m=286901919

The NPR TED Radio Hour Host

Guy Raz is the host of TED Radio Hour.  His experience covers over 17 years and includes hosting the weekend edition of All Things Considered, Bureau Chief covering the war in Iraq where he won the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Daniel Schorr Journalism prize as well as contributing to the Peabody awarded to NPR.

TED Radio tackles astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems and new ways to think and create. Each radio show is based on talks given by riveting speakers on the renowned TED stage.

Two of my other recent favorites:

Todd Kuiken: A Prosthetic Arm That Feels


(click to go directly to TED video)

The NPR description: Todd Kuiken is a doctor and engineer at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He builds new prosthetics that connect with the human nervous system, so they can be controlled by the same impulses from the brain. He does this with a technology called targeted muscle reinnervation. It uses nerves remaining after an amputation to control an artificial limb, linking brain impulses to a computer in the prosthesis that directs motors to move the limb. An unexpected effect in some patients: Not only can they move their new limb, they can feel with it.

Radio: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=283458260&m=286901970

Rupal Patel: Synthetic Voices, As Unique as Fingerprints


(click to go directly to TED video)

The NPR description: Rupal Patel directs the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory at Northeastern University. She helped found VocaliD, an organization working to help the millions of people who use computerized devices to communicate in unique voices. Patel’s technique to move beyond the usual generic male voice. She samples the tones of those with severe speech disorders and matches them with a surrogate talker. By blending the two, the team can create a synthetic voice to match the person using it.


About the TED Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour describes itself as a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. The TED Radio Hour is hosted by Guy Raz, and is a co-production of NPR & TED. Follow the show @TEDRadioHour. Visit this podcast’s Web site

Updates: Fridays
Program length: approx 60 minutes

About TED

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Follow the show @TEDRadioHour. Visit this podcast’s Web site

Source: NPR Radio – http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/, TED – https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/history-of-ted

by Dan Charobee

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