Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cynw6tl7b6l5ssw/VRP25284.mp4?dl=0 (Credit: ViralPress / Marc Teyssier)
A creepy webcam has been designed to look like a real human eye – which moves and blinks while it watches people at their computer.
The Eyecam was created by engineer Marc Teyssier and his team at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Saarland University in Germany.
The camera device is hidden inside an eyeball covered with 3D-printed silicone that resembles human skin and flesh while fake hair was used for the lashes.
The eye can be attached to the top of a computer monitor, where it creepily looks around while tracking the face of the user during a video call.
Designer Marc Teyssier said the camera, like human beings, frequently blinks and the eyelids adapt to the movement of the eyeball.
He said: ‘When Eyecam looks up, the top eyelid opens widely while the lower one closes completely.
‘Eyecam can be autonomous and react on its own to external stimuli, such as the presence of users in front of it.’
Marc added that sensing devices have become smaller over the years making them unnoticeable since they easily blend with the surroundings – but the Eyecam was designed to do the opposite.
He said: ‘We are surrounded by sensing devices. From surveillance camera observing us in the street, Google or Alexa speakers listen to us or webcam in our laptop, constantly looking at us.
‘They are becoming invisible, blending into our daily lives, up to a point where we are unaware of their presence and stop questioning how they look, sense and act.’
The Eyecam can also help users be more present during remote communication.
Marc said: ‘While webcams share the same purpose as the human eye – seeing – they are not expressive, not conveying and transmitting affect as the human eyes do.
‘Through the look, we can perceive happiness, anger, boredom or fatigue. The eyes move around when someone is curious and took straight to maintain focus.
‘We are familiar with these interaction cues influencing our social behaviour. Eyecam brings back the affective aspects of the eye in the camera.’
The device is not yet available in the market but those who are interested can build their own at home. Information on how to reproduce the device from the 3D-printed hardware parts to the control software is available on the team’s website.