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This webcam dares to ask: What if the Panopticon has meat?

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We have many digital eyes and ears as we move through our daily lives. Surveillance cameras monitor us in the streets and smart devices monitor us in our homes. What if part of that surveillance happened through an expressive simulation of the human eye?

Researcher Mark Teissier created such a device himself and gave the webcam a moving eyeball with synthetic flesh and forehead and eyelashes. Observation: Eyecam.

Hello.Image: Marc Teyssier

In the video below, you can see how they blink, glance, and emote.

Imagine Eyecam waking up naturally.

Imagine Eyecam observing every step of you.

Imagine Eyecam is always there …

… even when you don’t want to put it there!

If you can overcome the uncanny valley, it’s a decent device. When you see people in the video carry it in the palm of your hand, it looks almost cute. And this project, which is part of a study at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Saarland, explores interesting questions. If the device is more human, how do you interact with it? How will our behavior change if the surveillance around us feels much more specific?

If you want to make a careful companion, Eyecams designs and software are available on Github. Teyssier also promises to create a complete step-by-step build video. More details are available on the Teyssiers website, along with numerous images at each stage of the build process.

Eyecams innards.Image: MarcTeyssier and its plump look. Image: Marc Teyssier

If you feel like falling into the rabbit hole of a spooky gadget, there’s also the Teyssiers phone with moving fingers and a flesh-covered phone case. If you’re tired of your skin, check out Disney’s fleshless robots and this furry robot dog.

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