Rob Spence is a filmmaker who calls himself the “Eyeborg.” After losing sight in his right eye at age 9 by incorrectly shooting a shotgun, Spence decided 26 years later to have his sightless eye removed and replaced with a digital camera.
After sharing his initial eye camera back in 2011, Spence has gotten major upgrades to the design.
While the early model clearly looked like a mass of electronics in his eye socket, Spence’s new camera looks just like a regular eye prosthesis. But behind the facade is a working camera with a built-in micro radio-frequency transmitter.
The camera isn’t wired to Spence’s nerves, so it doesn’t do the duties of a real eye, but it does record 3-minutes of video at a time (the time limit is due to overheating). Spence can monitor the eye’s “live view” through a handheld screen, and turning the camera on and off is done by tapping a magnet against it.
Here’s a view of Spence’s wife and dog in his Toronto apartment. It’s from an episode from Showtime’s new series “Dark Net,” which featured Spence’s eye camera:
Spence is now working with his development team on getting the camera to record his life for hours at a time. Once that happens — he estimates that it will this year — Spence plans to use the eye for more serious documentary film projects that are shot from his exact point of view.
You can follow along with Spence’s Eyeborg project through its official website.
Image credits: Photographs courtesy Rob Spence