Just an eye on the wall…

20 March 2009

The camera and prosthetic eye planned to be worn by filmmaker Rob Spence

The camera and prosthetic eye planned to be worn by filmmaker Rob Spence Photo Credit:The EyeBorg Project

“Truth” has finally joined beauty to be in the eye of the beholder. The EyeBorg Project will see documentary filmmaker Rob Spence insert a camera and transmitter inside a prosthetic eye which he will wear to capture a very different view of the world.

Rob lost one of his eyes in a shooting incident when he was 13. After growing too painful, what remained of his damaged eye had to be removed and he started wearing an eye-patch full-time.

A while ago he noticed how small the camera was in his mobile phone, and got to thinking about the Bionic Man from the TV series “Six Million Dollar Man”. Fusing the two ideas together he came up with the EyeBorg Project, or as his tagline puts it – a one-eyed filmmaker gets a camera-eye.

Rob partnered with Kosta Grammatis, a former SpaceX avionics engineer to lead the team working to design the ‘bionic eye’. Working alongside ocularists, inventors and engineering specialists, Rob, Kosta and the team are looking to complete the task on a shoestring budget.

For the techies out there… the world’s smallest CMOS cameras (1.5mm2) will be used and according to Kosta, the video signal will be transmitted wirelessly, probably to a wearable backpack to be recorded. The RF transmitter is smaller than the tip of a pencil eraser, and lithium polymer battery technology will power the eye.

Rob’s goal – to explore the way society deals with issues surrounding surveillance in a ground-breaking way. An interesting topic, given the number of CCTV and surveillance cameras that track our every move in shops, on streets and even at home… Check out the video of his plan below.

EYEBORG– The Two Week Trial from eyeborg on Vimeo

Last week at my apartment block, a new set of surveillance cameras have just been installed, and it’s been interesting to gauge the reaction of residents as they realise they are about to have their every move tracked. I have surprised even myself with my reaction to the camera going in. It does feel somewhat like an invasion of my space…

Regarding Rob, I say good on him for throwing himself wholeheartedly into the project. It’ll be interesting to see how the project comes along. As for living our life under the eye of a camera, what do you think? Do scary visions of the future come to mind, or perhaps do you like to be watched?

One Response to “Just an eye on the wall…”

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