Synesthesia in science and technology: More than making the unseen visible

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Much of our science and technology relies on the visualization of complex data, and chemical biology, more than most fields, often deals with complex datasets. There are, however, other ways of making information available to our senses beyond the visual. Rare individuals naturally have sensory crossover, whose synesthesia permits them, for example, to see colors or shapes when hearing sounds or to sense a specific taste with a specific word. Many scientists, technologists and inventors, however, make a conscious attempt to convert one type of sensory-like input to a different sensory output. A laser light show, for example, converts sound to sight; infrared imaging converts heat to sight. Two recent examples of such intentional synesthesia are discussed in this context: sight-tasting and smell-seeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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