Eye wired open

interns Contributor
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When Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence decided to have his badly damaged eye removed from its socket, he chose to replace it not with a prosthetic, but with a wireless camera. The decision, he says, was easy.

“Every person I know who’s lost an eye immediately thinks, ‘I should think about getting a camera,'” he says. Although so far, Spence is the only person who has actually acted on the notion.

In a world first, Spence and a team of engineers and eye specialists developed an eye-camera, a miniature camera and wireless transmitter fitted into his eye.

Spence damaged his eye as a child after mishandling a gun, and had been legally blind in his right eye for years. After several operations, doctors eventually advised him to remove it.

“As soon as I knew the eye was coming out, I thought about the camera and I started making the calls,” Spence, now 36, says.

His first calls were to Australia, known for its research into bionics, but eventually he found young engineers keen to collaborate on a volunteer basis; the first prototype took just three months.

It has since been refined – and continues to be – but it is essentially a 1.5 millimetre-square low-resolution video camera, a round circuit board, a video transmitter and a three-volt rechargeable battery, all contained in the clear acrylic used to make prosthetic eyes. As well as fulfilling millions of kids’ Six Million Dollar Man fantasies, the eye-camera was recognised last year in Time magazine’s 50 best inventions.

Full story: Eye wired ope – The Sydney Morning Herald