Darren Waters

Meet the bionic reporter

  • Darren Waters
  • 5 Mar 09, 11:12 GMT

The idea of lifecasting is not new: was an interesting project which saw a San Franciscan wear a webcam 24/7 and broadcast direct to the net.

It was arguably inspired by MIT's Dr Steve Mann who pioneered Sousveillance, using recording technology worn on the body to reflect the viewpoint of one of the people engaged in surveillance.

EyeBut Rob Spence is going further. He is planning to have a camera embedded in his eye socket in order to become a 'bionic reporter'.

Speaking at DNA 2009, he explained he had lost an eye when young and had long thought about camera technology to replace his lost vision.

The camera eye will move in sync with the healthy eye, it will blink and it will be able to transmit footage live.

He explains: "One of the obvious applications is to be a reporter that has access to places other reporters don't - or access to conversations that normal people don't."

He says having direct eye contact will lead to a unique point of view and potentially a new grammar of film-making.

He has developed a prototype and is looking for further funding of $50,000 to complete the technical aspects of the eye. He is currently filming a documentary about the project.

He admits it raises wider issues of privacy.

"The more I tell journalists I am getting a camera in my head, the more journalists ask if it is worse than surveillance society.

"We are sleep walking into a surveillance society and nobody cares. But if I say I am getting an eye camera people say it is ethically tricky."

But he says: "I wouldn't release any footage without a release form."

His project points to a time when people may replace healthy, working eyes with cameras.

"It seems shocking now, but it will become and more normal."

He says he expects to have a working prototype in the next month.

"Stay tuned: eyeborg is coming."


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