Syneseizure makes objects feel loud

Synesthesia is a mix-up in the wiring of the brain where sensory inputs are perceived differently than what ‘normal people’ usually experience. People with synesthesia can have visual input mapped to aural perception in the mind, or driving along a highway where there’s a recent skunk roadkill can smell ‘loud.’ It’s an interesting way of perceiving the world that’s usually inaccessible to most of the population, but the Syneseizure tries to replicate this way of viewing the world.

There’s a bunch of types of synesthesia (Led Zeppelin feels purple, or apples smelling further away than grapes), but [Greg] and his team needed to choose one subtype to reduce the complexity of their project. They chose mapping visual input to touch sensation. This was accomplished by attaching a dozen speakers to the test subject’s face. A webcam recorded where the subject was looking at and with a Processing sketch, the webcam was reduced to a grayscale 4×3 pixel grid. The intensity of the each pixel corresponded to the strength of buzzing in each speaker. All that was left to do is put a mask over the subject and have them walk around.

The Syneseizure was built for Science Hack Day San Francisco and ended up winning the people’s choice award. There’s a bunch of pics and a great write-up on the project website, so be sure to check that out.


  1. sariel says:


    looks like a cyborg gimp mask from hell.

  2. eggman says:

    this is one of the creepiest things i’ve ever seen.

  3. that guy says:

    try acid, works just as well. and it doesn’t take battery’s.

  4. TheCapt says:

    OK, good, I wasn’t the only one that saw this and wondered ‘what kind of new fetish has the internet released today?’

  5. Matt N says:

    The tea strainers on the eyes are a nice touch.

  6. Chris says:

    Awesome! I always wondered what the Number 5 taste like….

    I Like the headgear…

  7. adamhixon says:

    Cool idea, but I’m not putting that thing on my face…

  8. EFH says:

    What is it with the head-mounted circuits today!

  9. Havel says:

    When I first saw this I thought it was some cyberpunk version of one of the Sand People (Star Wars), then I jokingly thought it was some high text S&M gear. Either way, it seems really cool. Maybe (a much more refined version) can be used as a haptic feedback device for the blind. Nice work :D .

  10. It’s like I fell asleep with “American Horror Story” and “Mythbusters” both on in the background. ::shudder::
    Really cool project though! My friends and I were just talking about synesthesia today…

  11. Mark A says:

    I’m sure BBC Wales would like to use this in their next edition of Doctor Who.

  12. NishaKitty says:

    I thought halloween was over?

  13. mjrippe says:

    Now add gloves with pressure sensors on the fingertips. Squeeze an object and change the frequency generated in the headphones depending on how firm the object is.

  14. henry99 says:

    jesus, looks scary. you wouldnt be able to pay me to put that thing on

  15. fartface says:

    I wonder what the TSA would do as you approached the security point with it on.

  16. KillerBug says:

    This is also very useful to prevent aliens from reading your thoughts.

  17. ferdie says:

    it,s look like a SM mask for tec freaks

  18. austin says:

    im reading your thoughts snake!

  19. Mayer says:

    It’s like the foot soldiers from Ninja Turtle’s went all cyborg

  20. PlastBox says:

    Why on earth is there NO mention of Sensory Substitution, which is what this actually is? Our very, very cool brain integrates any sensory input as it’s own given that there is a clear correlation between what one does (looking around, exploring) and how the sensory information changes.

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