My Eye Is the Camera

eye_2Lately I’ve been reading articles about vision augmentation. That got me thinking about William Gibson Zeiss-Ikon eyes and other such fictions. Is there a future where journalists or average people can stream live video directly from their eyes? Will there be a time soon when we can store and reason using augmented visual information? Maybe but I have no knowledge of such things.

A quick internet search turned up someone who has a wearable artificial eye capable of streaming video. It is the ultimate point-of-view device at least until someone figures out how to integrate imaging with the visual cortex in full fidelity. Rob Spence, the gentleman who experimented with the video capable artificial eye may have moved on to more commercially viable ventures. In any case you can see for yourself what he accomplished at EyeBorg Project. It is quite impressive given the state of technology at the time.

It is rather extreme to even consider replacing your eyes with imaging devices. Perhaps not so extreme if the devices were genetically engineered replacement eyes rather than electromechanical devices. Either way, when they become available many people will opt for the prosthetics.

None of the devices I’ve seen even hint at anything like eye replacement. Current research seems to be about providing useful information for navigation. Finding nearby services just as mobile phones do today. One area where augmented vision has great promise is in complex manufacturing where product details could be highlighted as overlays directly into your field of view. That sort of technology combined with good speech recognition could have far reaching scope. However it is more likely that specifications and product guides will be available hands-free as a first step.

Vision augmentation poses the same sort of social and privacy concerns that were experienced by Google Glass users. The difference is that you can tell if someone is wearing Google Glass but you might never know if someone is scanning you with a more subtle device. We also need to consider what the government and military will do with such technology. It is a Brave New World.


Author: Ken

Avid photographer and old guy technologist.