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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NASA probe detects likely ‘marsquake’ — an interplanetary first

A life-size model of the spaceship Insight, NASA's first robotic lander dedicated to studying the deep interior of Mars, is shown at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, U.S. November 26, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 April 2019
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NASA probe detects likely ‘marsquake’ — an interplanetary first

  • A more distant quake would yield greater information about Mars’ interior because seismic waves would “penetrate deeper into the planet before they come back up to the seismometer,” he said

CALIFORNIA: NASA’s robotic probe InSight has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a “marsquake,” marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported on Tuesday.
The breakthrough came nearly five months after InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its two-year seismological mission on the red planet.
The faint rumble characterized by JPL scientists as a likely marsquake, roughly equal to a 2.5 magnitude earthquake, was recorded on April 6 — the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol.
It was detected by InSight’s French-built seismometer, an instrument sensitive enough to measure a seismic wave just one-half the radius of a hydrogen atom.
“We’ve been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology,” InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt said in a news release.
Scientists are still examining the data to conclusively determine the precise cause of the signal, but the trembling appeared to have originated from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind.
“The high frequency level and broad band is very similar to what we get from a rupture process. So we are very confident that this is a marsquake,” Philippe Lognonné, a geophysics and planetary science professor at University Paris Diderot in France and lead researcher for InSight’s seismometer, said in an email.
Still, a tremor so faint in Southern California would be virtually lost among the dozens of small seismic crackles that occur there every day.
“Our informed guesswork is that this a very small event that’s relatively close, maybe from 50 to 100 kilometers away” from the lander, Banerdt told Reuters by telephone.
A more distant quake would yield greater information about Mars’ interior because seismic waves would “penetrate deeper into the planet before they come back up to the seismometer,” he said.
 
The size and duration of the marsquake also fit the profile of some of the thousands of moonquakes detected on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1977 by seismometers installed there by NASA’s Apollo missions, said Lori Glaze, planetary science division director at NASA headquarters in Washington.
The lunar and Martian surfaces are extremely quiet compared with Earth, which experiences constant low-level seismic noise from oceans and weather as well as quakes that occur along subterranean fault lines created by shifting tectonic plates in the planet’s crust.
Mars and the moon lack tectonic plates. Their seismic activity is instead driven by a cooling and contracting process that causes stress to build up and become strong enough to rupture the crust.
Three other apparent seismic signals were picked up by InSight on March 14, April 10 and April 11 but were even smaller and more ambiguous in origin, leaving scientists less certain they were actual marsquakes.
Lognonné said he expected InSight to eventually detect quakes 50 to 100 times larger than the April 6 tremor.