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Home / Technology / This webcam dares to ask: what if the panopticon had meat?

This webcam dares to ask: what if the panopticon had meat?



Many digital eyes and ears are directed at us as we move in everyday life. Surveillance cameras see us on the street and smart devices listen for us at home. What if some of that looking happened through an expressive simulacrum of a human eye?

Researcher Marc Teyssier undertook to create such a device, which gave a webcam synthetic meat and a moving eyeball, complete with forehead and lashes. Observer: Eyecam.

A person's hand tenderly holds a piece of synthetic meat with an eyeball in it, and glances to the right.  There is a wire coming from behind.

Hello.
Photo: Marc Teyssier

You can see it in action – flashing, flashing, emotionally charged – in the video below, which also commands us to use our imagination:

Imagine that Eyecam wakes up by itself.

Imagine that Eyecam observes every step.

Imagine that Eyecam is always there …

… even when you do not want it to be there!

If you can get past the eerie valley, it’s a nice unit. Seeing the people in the video carry it around in the palms of their hands makes it look almost cute. And the project, which is part of the research at Saarland University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab, explores interesting questions. How would we interact with our devices if they were more human? How would our behavior change if the surveillance around us felt so much more tangible?

If you want to create your own companion, Eyecam’s design and software are available on Github, and Teyssier promises that a complete step-by-step construction video is in the works. More information is available on Teyssier’s website along with a wealth of photos at each stage of the construction process.

Pieces of hardware and circuits gathered in a square, at the bottom is what looks like plastic eyelids on the hinges.

Eyecams guts.
Photo: Marc Teyssier

Two hands, one braced at the bottom of a container, and the other pulls out a piece of synthetic meat with eyelids.  The eyeball has not been inserted yet.

And the fleshy exterior.
Photo: Marc Teyssier

If you’re in the mood to fall into a rabbit hole of creepy gadgets, there’s also Teyssier’s phone with a moving finger and a meat – covered phone bag. When you’m tired of skin, check out Disney’s meatless robot and this furious robot dog.


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