Film-maker's Camera Eye is up and shooting
By Ben Coxworth
August 29, 2011
When he was nine years old, Toronto film-maker Rob Spence received a severe injury to his right eye in a shotgun accident. After a period of hiding the aftermath under an eyepatch, six years ago he had the eye replaced with a prosthesis. Being a visual artist, however, he had an idea - instead of just an unseeing artificial eye, he wanted one that could capture images of what he was looking at, and wirelessly transmit them to an external recording device. He himself wouldn't be able to see through the eye, but the footage obtained from it could take film-making to new levels. It's been a few years since Spence began his Eyeborg Project, but he has just announced that the eye is now functioning.
Spence's artificial eye contains a tiny video camera, a battery and transmitter, and sends an understandably somewhat grainy live picture from that camera to a small handheld monitor - from there, it could be recorded. There aren't yet many details available on exactly how the camera works or was made, but Rob has promised on his blog that such information should be posted soon.
San Francisco artist Tanya Marie Vlach has a very similar project underway - she lost her left eye in a car accident, and is now working on replacing it with a camera eye, that will play a part in a variety of art works.
In the meantime, Spence has presented a short documentary on the current state of high-tech prostheses, which includes footage of his eye in action. Video game company Square Enix commissioned him to produce the piece to promote its Deus Ex: Human Revolution game, which features a character with a camera eye.
The Eyeborg Project documentary can be viewed below, but be warned, there are gory parts.