Today we largely accept the variety of microphones that listen to us in their various Alexa, iOS, and Google iterations, as well as a webcam on our laptop that probably isn’t recording us. In fact, we don’t even really think about these prying sensors, allowing them to mentally fade into the background. The Eyecam — created by Marc Teyssier along with a research team at Saarland University's Human-Computer Interaction Lab — is a webcam that not only records what it sees, but moves like an actual human eye!
This device looks incredibly realistic, with silicone flesh, eyelids, and an eyebrow, which are all actuated using six servo motors stuffed inside. It can operate autonomously, or react to external stimuli, such as the presence of a person in front of it. Electronics include an Arduino Nano, a Raspberry Pi Zero, and a tiny HD camera.
As seen in the video below, the Eyecam is designed to sit on top of a monitor, and the computer recognizes it as a "regular" plug-and-play webcam. If you’d like, you can even pick it up and pet it, as if it’s some sort of living thing, disturbingly shown at around the 0:57 mark.
Yes, it’s weird, and yes it’s disturbing. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is how we accept and/or ignore being monitored in so many situations really considering it. If all devices were as obvious as this, maybe we would think about it more.
Eyecam is open source, and if you'd like to build your own, the needed files are available here.