"I am technology", the story of the first 'cyborg man'



Neil Harbisson can be considered the world's first 'cyborg' citizen. This British resident in Barcelona is the first human being with an antenna implanted in his head. «The idea originated in the University of Art in England as an artistic project, and I decided to implant it as a 'body art' that is part of my body and allows me to experience reality beyond human limits. The bioethics committees did not see it as being of medical use and I had to find a doctor who would do the surgery anonymously », he explains. He assures that his antenna is "like a musical instrument that transforms color vibration into sound vibration and directs it directly into his head."

He also claims to be able to see infrared and ultraviolet rays.

That antenna, he says, it is like a new organ, integrated into its skeleton for almost 18 years and it has changed his life because before he suffered from achromatopsia, it is a disorder of the retina by which only white, black and shades of gray are distinguished.

Hector Champion
Hector Champion

"Only five people were allowed to send information directly to my head, but in March of last year I limited it to one." That access is managed through an NFT, an artistic format that allows you to buy a digital work and sell it. "The person who acquires this NFT has the right to connect to my head and alter my color perceptions"Harbisson notes. And that person can sell that access. "I did it for security, because I already got hacked once." The NFT format, developed with blockchain technology, is a more secure gateway and almost impossible to hack.

"Instead of changing the planet we should change ourselves to adapt to the world that already exists," says Harbisson

“The positive thing is that the antenna offers a very inspiring view, you rediscover reality. It is neither augmented reality nor virtual reality, I call it revealed reality », she assures. Harbisson implanted the antenna under his skin and says that his next goal is to "use the blood flow as a charger." The process to become the first person recognized as a 'cyborg' It was because the British Government did not accept his passport photo as legal, since there is a rule that you cannot appear on this document with electronic elements. Harbisson argued that "the antenna was a new organ." "I do not use or carry technology, but I am technology," he insists. A months-long debate began and in the end they accepted their antenna.

He has also founded

Cyborg Foundation, a platform that seeks to promote projects that explore "new ways of revealing the reality that surrounds us and that our bodies cannot perceive, defend the right to decide which organs and senses we want to have as a species and to experiment with ourselves." Consider that technological devices are increasingly part of our identities. «For example, a few years ago we used to say that my cell phone ran out of battery, and now they say I am running out of battery. The language is revealing. And the fear of these implants is disappearing. Instead of changing the planet we should change ourselves to adapt to the world that already exists.

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