Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Artist envisions turning fake eye into bionic eye-cam

CNET News - November 18, 2008, by Elinor Mills
Photo Credit: Jonathan James

Three years after losing her left eye in a car accident, San Franciscan Tanya Vlach wants to make her artificial eye more useful: She's planning to put a video camera in her eye socket with the goal of having a bionic eye.

Asked in an e-mail what her inspiration is, Vlach wrote:
The Bionic Woman and maybe Bladerunner! Ever since I lost my eye I would fantasize about having a bionic eye. So I did research and I realized that as technology becomes increasingly smaller it seemed doable to engineer a miniature video camera small enough to put inside my acrylic prosthetic. And then finally I would have a device as close to an eye as I could get. Also, I love photography and video, this would be a true P.O.V (point of view) perspective.
Vlach, a 35-year-old artist and producer, is just getting started with her project and doesn't yet have a technology developer yet. She's actively seeking help with engineering, as well as funding.

Work is already under way in various places that could serve as a starting point for Vlach. For instance, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have created a contact lens that contains an electronic circuit and LEDs. And scientists at University of Illinois and Northwestern University, meanwhile, have developed what could be a precursor to a bionic eye, though it's unclear whether that eye has quite the Web functionality that Vlach is seeking. There's also work being done in Boston on embedding chips behind the retina.

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