Science & Technology

The Eyeborg

Little Brother is watching, too.



Meet Rob Spence. A childhood accident left him with only one working eye. He's a filmmaker and an unemployed engineer. So what could be more natural than concealing a miniature camera behind a prosthetic eyeball?

Spence and his partner Kosta Grammatis, a former SpaceX avionics systems engineer, see their eye-camera experiment-dubbed the Eyeborg Project-as a scientific and artistic venture with powerful political implications. As Spence told Wired, "Sometimes I run a little experiment. I tell people around me, 'Did you know there are 11,000 new video cameras being installed in our country every day?' Then I will exaggerate and say there are 50,000 new video cameras going in every day. Most of the times I get the same answer: 'That's interesting. Now what's for lunch?' or 'The weather is nice today.' "

As government surveillance cameras proliferate, the best way to fight back may not be to rally the masses against Big Brother but to encourage the proliferation of private-sector Little Brothers. Having a camera installed inside your own head takes the consumer explosion in small video recorders and camera phones to the next level. Watchful eyes everywhere, under the control of everyday citizens, may be the most powerful bulwark we have against state surveillance and abuse of police power.