WTF?! Have you ever looked at your webcam and thought, “yeah, it performs its intended functions, but I wish the camera resembled a disembodied human eye—like something from a David Cronenberg movie.” If so, here’s some good news: your disturbing fantasy has been made real.
The aptly named Eyecam comes from researcher Marc Teyssier and is part of research at the Saarland University Human-Computer Interaction Lab. The anthropomorphic webcam is designed to “challenge conventional relationships with ubiquitous sensing devices and call to re-think how sensing devices might appear and behave.”
It’s an interesting project: it’s easy to imagine that most people would behave differently if they had a human eyeball staring at them instead of a webcam’s cold lens, especially as it can blink and express emotion. Its disappointing gaze burning into you from atop a monitor could certainly put people off visiting Pornhub, for example.
The device consists of six servo-motors controlled by an Arduino Nano that reproduce different eye muscles, while the camera itself (720p60) is connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero and works as a standard plug & play webcam.
The Eyecam can function autonomously and react to external stimuli, such as the presence of users. It’s constantly blinking, and the eyelids dynamically adapt to the eyeball movements—it’s even got human hairs implanted for the eyebrows and eyelashes.
We’ve seen mildly terrifying human body part-mimicking tech in the past, including the MobiLimb that’s able to drag a phone around and even stroke a user’s hand in response to receiving a positive emoji.