Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? With many of us now working from home, our reliance on webcams for team meetings has never been greater. How would you like to have one that looks disturbingly like a real human eye socket?
Meet the ‘Eyecam’ – an anthropomorphic webcam that’s made to look and mimic an actual human eye. It’s designed by Marc Teyssier, a designer and researcher at Critical Design. He’s designed this monstrosity to open up a debate about our relationship with technology [via Arduino].
How it works
Using a collection of six servo motors, the robotic camera can mimic the movements of a real eye and eyebrow to simulate emotions. The eyeball can move freely, and muscles surrounding the eyeball, lid and brow result in a horrifically accurate recreation.
It’s all powered by a Raspberry Pi which allows the camera to be connected to a computer as any standard plug-and-play webcam.
The eye even thinks like a human. It’s programmed to blink regularly as we normal folk do, and it can even respond to outside stimuli.
For example, it can track faces as they move across its field of view, or flick between two faces if there are multiple people in its presence.
Big Brother is watching you
Teyssier wants his creation to contribute to the conversation about the way we perceive our relationship with the digital world.
On his blog, Teyssier writes: “We are surrounded by sensing devices. From surveillance cameras observing us in the street, Google or Alexa speakers listen to us or webcam in our laptop, constantly looking at us. They are becoming invisible, blending into our daily lives, up to a point where we are unaware of their presence and stop questioning how they look, sense, and act.”
Some of the questions that Teyssier wants to be discussed are: “Should the [sensing] device be transparent and invisible to the user?”, and: “How can we design smart devices to be present where needed, but respectfully absent when not?”
Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, how seriously should we be evaluating the influence that sensing technology has over our lives?
The ‘Eyecam’ isn’t available commercially, though Teyssier has made his design and software available via an open-source server on GitHub. That’s if you’re brave enough to build one yourself!
Would you be comfortable with this freakish eye staring back at you while you work? Let us know across our social channels.
[Featured Image Credit: Marc Teyssier]