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Bane-Like Synesthesia Mask Lets You Smell Colors

Some people—about one in every 2000—live their entire lives with synesthesia: a physiological condition that allows them to “smell” colors, “hear” smells, or combine their senses in some other way. But while these people are born into a world of tasty sights and odorous sounds, maybe even molded by it (like all of these big-time artists), we non-synesthetes rarely, if ever, get a glimpse at what that experience is like. That may change now, however, because this new “synesthesia mask” lets you adopt the sensorial condition, and actually taste the rainbow.

Invented by aerospace engineer and artist-in-residence at Autodesk, Zachary Howard, the synesthesia mask looks like something Bane would wear on a fancy Moon date.

The system, displayed in the video above that was recently reported on by Discover, is essentially made up of three components, including a color sensor that attaches to the hand, an Intel Edison chip encased in a plastic box on the arm, and a big plastic mask strapped to the face, which is adorned with a trio of smell oils (smoils?). The sensor in the finger receives light emitted from or reflected off of a given object, and then turns those different various wavelengths of light (various colors), into red, green and blue (an RGB signal). The Intel chip then, according to the mix of colors received by the sensor, produces a smell—a mixture of the oils—inside of the mask. And voila! You can stop and see-smell the roses.

Howard says that he invented the device because he has a friend with synesthesia (which is triggered when the stimulation of one sensory center of the brain stimulates another sensory center involuntarily) and wanted to know what it was like. Howard also says, “This project would be good for anyone looking to hack and explore their sensory perception of the world,” adding that he hopes people will be able to “see the world in a different way.” Which means maybe this mask really would be good for Bane. Even if all that light is nothing to him but blinding!

And you know what else is blinding? The brilliance of your thoughts, which you should leave in the comments section below!

Images: Instructables

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