Have a fear of being spied on? Then look out because the Eyecam is an eye-opening, open-source, Raspberry Pi-powered camera that eerily resembles a human eye. Half pet, half unused concept from David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, this fleshy camera from Germany’s Saarland University is less of a Best Webcams contender and more of an art piece that highlights the surveillance we open ourselves up to when attaching sensors to personal devices.
“Imagine Eyecam waking up on its own,” the camera’s reveal video says. “Imagine bonding with Eyecam,” the video continues as a man pets the camera. “Imagine Eyecam becoming emotional,” the video eventually says, as the camera scowls.
The goal here, according to Eyecam creator Marc Teyssier, is to “broaden the discourse on sensing technologies and spark speculations on aestheticism and functions.”
That’s a lot of big words, but Teyssier’s website goes into deeper detail about the problems traditional cameras present by capturing data but not conveying emotion,. It also discusses the societal consequences of surrounding ourselves with sensing devices “up to the point where we become unaware of their presence.”
Well, Eyecam certainly does a good job of making me feel aware of it.
Kidding aside, Eyecam has a good point here. The idea of being spied on by a real human eye terrifies me, but keeping my webcam plugged in at all times without even putting a cover over it doesn’t (hackers, forget you read that).
Still, despite being branded as a “design fiction prototype,” you can totally build an Eyecam of your own right now, if for some reason you want to turn your monitor into a cyclops. All the software and .stl files for the Eyecam are free on Teyssier’s Github. You’ll need a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino Nano, a small camera and a 3D printer. You’ll also need plenty of gumption, since Teyssier’s build tutorial isn’t quite finished yet.