Rob’s all-seeing-eye set for TV screens
A FILMMAKER wants you to see the world through his own eye.
It’s lucky then, that Canadian Rob Spence, 36, only has one blinker – and he’s fitting out the other with a tiny wireless camera inside a fake eyeball.
And he may be appearing on a screen near you soon, having held talks with Channel 4 bosses about screening it in the UK.
Meantime, he is planning to transmit ‘eyecasts’ directly from his eye onto the internet from February.
Rob’s Irish parents saw him lose his right eye aged 11 while playing with his grandfather’s gun at the family farm in Soldierstown.
He explained: “I wanted to shoot a pile of cow dung.
“I wasn’t holding the gun properly and it backfired, severely injuring my eye.
“I hit the cow dung by the way.”
His vision quickly deteriorated and three years ago he decided to have his eye removed.
The pioneering in-eye camera won’t restore his vision, but it will let him make movies wherever he is, just by looking around.
He said: “Having one eye is almost as good as having two.
“It’s not really that different except my squash game is a little off and you really have to check your blind spot carefully when you are changing lanes in traffic.
“I don’t really need to restore any vision in my right eye… socket.”
The bionic Toronto documentary maker wants to capture a never-before-seen view on the world, and question the public’s awareness of surveillance cameras.
Says Rob: “The accident began a journey that would lead me to add technology to my body and ask hard questions about Big Brother.
“Eye 4 an Eye is a quirky feature documentary that explores how we may be sleepwalking into a Big Brother, Orwellian surveillance society.
“By retrofitting my prosthetic eye into a wireless and web connected video camera I become a symbolic ‘Little Brother’ media virus who goes on a cybernetic journey literally from my point of view.
“My eye camera footage will tend to come in fleetingly to illustrate points when a standard camera is not possible.”
Having spoken with Channel 4 producers, Rob is set to star in a documentary about the making of his own film.
Even with the deal at an early stage, Rob can’t hide his excitement: “All I can say is Channel 4 in Britain is just about to say yes and give me lots of money.”
The tiny camera in his fake eye is currently being fine-tuned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate Steve Mann.
Rob has nicknamed Steve ‘Cyberman,’ and together they hope to use the film to take a stance against surveillance.
Rob added: “In Toronto, they’re putting up 12,000 new surveillance cameras and no one really cares. No one’s reacting to this.
“Why only have the state watching? Normal people can watch too – it’s empowering.”
And his plan for a dramatic ending to the film couldn’t be more fitting:
“I will take a shotgun and go back to my grandfather’s farm in Ireland, where I first injured my eye and I will dramatically blast a pile of cow manure without shooting my eye out.
“I will have come full circle and will finish the job I started as a boy as a grown man.
“I’ll film it with my new video eye but also with three other cameras for a multi-rendition in Van Damme movies when he does his “final strike”.
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