April 9, 2009 After years of wearing a patch to hide his disfigured right eye, damaged as a child in a shooting accident, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence was forced eventually to replace the eye with a prosthetic one. The camera on Spence’s cell phone, though, gave him a rather novel idea. What if he could build a miniature, wireless video camera into his prosthetic eye? What followed has become the Eyeborg Project, the progress of which can be now followed online.

While Spence had few resources of his own to invest, the sheer inventiveness of the project has attracted backing from many quarters, including corporate circles. Also assisting Spence is engineer Kosta Grammatis and inventor and professor Steve Mann – aka Cyber-Mann – who has worn video-enabled computers since the early 1980s.

While Spence's project initially drew comparisons with the bionic eye featured in the ‘70s TV show, The Six Million Dollar Man, recent attempts to fit a working LED device into his eye socket, as reported by New Scientist, gives Spence an appearance more like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg from Terminator.

Although this development is more of a sideshow to the main event: installing a video camera with which Spence can capture his unique perspective on the world around him – a take that, if all goes according to plan, will be relayed back to a computer.

In recent months, the Eyeborg team is reporting “major headway" and hopes to have a working prototype up and running later this month. Stay tuned.

Paul Best

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