Meet the man who can “feel colors” with his antenna

Artist Neil Harbisson explains the technology of his antenna
Updated 13 February 2018
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Meet the man who can “feel colors” with his antenna

DUBAI: A self-proclaimed “cyborg” who says technology has helped him with his colorblindness has landed in Dubai to speak at the World Government Summit on Tuesday.

Born with a rare disease that only allows him to see in shades of gray, Neil Harbisson went ahead with a procedure that saw an antenna implanted into his skull that helps him see colors.

The antenna, which has a wireless camera connected to a wireless sound vibration implant in his skull, enables remote communication – as well as the transmission of images, sound or video.

The Catalan-raised British-born artist said the technology allows him to “feel and hear colors as audible vibrations inside his head” – and that includes the colors that cannot be seen by anyone through the naked eye.

The antenna “allows me to extend my perception of reality beyond the visual spectrum,” Harbisson explained.

“I can sense infrared and ultraviolet, and I also have an Internet connection in my head that allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world, or connect to satellite so I can send colors from space,” he said in an interview with UAE state-run news agency WAM at the World Government Summit.

His connection to the Internet also allows the reception of colors and images from all over the world. He has given permission to five friends across each continent to transmit colors, images, videos and sounds directly into his head via satellite.

Dubai’s World Government Summit has focused a lot of presentations on robotics and technology for the future.

And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an honorary speech on Sunday that technology has the power to reduce poverty and bring about “inclusive growth for everyone.”

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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.