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Toronto filmmaker replacing one eye with a movie camera

By Adriana Stuijt     Mar 8, 2009 in Science
The science-fiction movie Death Watch is becoming a real-life scenaro: a Canadian filmmaker plans to replace an already damaged eye with an eyeborg - an asperine-sized functioning camera. He wants to conduct interviews 'in intimate settings' with it.
36-year-old Rob Spence of Toronto says the eye already was useless after a childhood accident with a firearm. "It seems crazy to take out an eye, but I think people will be making such choices more often in the future. Just look at Hollywod, and its plastic surgery, ' he said.
It's all very experimental - and costly. He's looking for sponsors: the project needs at least $50,000 to install the tiny camera in his eye socket. The filmmaker says the cost will also include the documentary about the process which modifies is prosthetic eye by embedding a video camera in it. see
Rob works as a director and producer in Toronto, Canada and has had his work on Discovery, The CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation), Vision, and Space TV. Currently, he is in working on a documentary about how video and humanity intersect especially with regards to surveillance. His most well known work is “Lets All Hate Toronto.”
The engineer who will be accomplishing this world-first feat is Kosta Grammatis, a former SpaceX avionics systems engineer. He led a team to build a satellite that’s currently in orbit. He holds a degree with concentrations in English, Art, and Engineering from California State University Channel Islands.
He won the CSU Undergraduate Research Competition two years in a row for his work done on balloon based research platforms. He’s currently unemployed.
The camera he intends to use is now used mainly for intestinal examinations in operating rooms, Rob says. His main plan is to use the camera 'to interview people in a very intimate way'. "One can reach places which other journalists would not be able to enter,' he said.
"And you get better shots with a secret eye-camera, because you are looking people straight in the eye."
Death Watch
This plan closely mimics the masterful 1980 movie Death Watch, Mort en Direct, by French director Bernard Tavernier. Its character Roddy had a camera implanted in his brain and one eye. He is then hired to film a documentary of the terminally ill Katherine, (Romy Schneider) without her knowledge. His footage is then run live on a reality-TV series, "Death Watch" while Katherine remains unaware that the entire world is watching her every move.
This camera-eye allows Roddy to watch minute after minute the suffering, horror and progressive hell around a stunningly beautiful but very sick woman (Romy Schneider) in the last stages of her life.
The movie is one of the most ferocious and accusing films ever made about the manipulation and unethical excesses of the news media in search of news.
It was filmed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1980 with Harvey Keitel, Schneider and Harry Dean Stanton.
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Privacy
Spence however says laconically that he would 'never use material if I don't get permission. There are also paparazzi with tele-lenses intervening in people's rights to privacy without the subject knowing about it.
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"And if I say that there are going to be 12,000 security cameras placed in Toronto, everyone would just shrug. But people just hearing about my camera-eye immediately say it's ethically irresponsible.'
"I like to see myself as superhero: an ordinary guy who suddenly gets some extraordinary power and wants to fight for justice, but is seen by the public as the villain.
"Which is more dangerous: that left-wing filmer of documntaries with his camera-eye, or all those cameras which are already watching us in supermarkets and schools.'
More about Eyeborg, Death watch, Rob spence, Camera installed eyesocket
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