This webcam literally looks and behaves like a human eye… because tech surveillance wasn’t creepy enough





Remember when Sundar Pichai stepped on stage at Google I/O in 2018 and demonstrated how the virtual Google Assistant could make phone calls and have realistic conversations with people? It was a combination of scary and impressive, as Google’s voice AI literally spoke to a human, booking a haircare appointment at a salon. The virtual assistant’s manner of speaking was so incredibly natural, it could fool anyone into thinking it was a real human. The assistant’s voice had a natural speaking quality to it, with mannerisms, inflections, and even the occasional “ummm” and “ahhh” sounds to make it sound natural and human. The demo was a combination of incredibly impressive and incredibly scary, as it demonstrated how tech could easily cross over into human territory.

For people who still don’t feel tech is dystopian enough, here’s the Eyecam… a webcam that creepily stares right into your soul. In a world where tech spies on you (sometimes blatantly), the Eyecam adds a layer of realism to it. Designed by researcher Marc Teyssier, the Eyecam is more of a social project that aims at turning the humble camera into something more relatable – for better or for worse. The resulting device is eerily similar to an eye. Sure, it comes covered with faux flesh and has eyebrows and eyelashes, but the Eyecam doesn’t just look like an eye. It behaves like one too. The eyeball can independently pivot inside the eye socket, looking around the room. A facial-recognition software runs in the background, allowing the Eyecam to detect humans and look them directly in the eye. If that wasn’t creepy enough, the eyeball even has a tendency to move and jitter around like a human eye. It doesn’t stay absolutely still… instead, it looks and scans you, parts of your face, and intermittently shifts its gaze between your left and right eye. Oh, and it blinks too, feeling so real that your mind’s bound to feel extremely conscious of the camera’s gaze.

The Eyecam is more of an experiment than a real product. It aims at understanding, decoding, and tweaking the human-tech relationship. The camera behaves quite like a human eye would. Looking around the room before it spots you and stares directly into your eyes like another human. When the camera is resting, the eyelid shuts too, allowing you to feel a little more at ease around it. Obviously, when it wakes up and looks right at you, it feels slightly unnerving at first. I’m not sure how one would feel after months of using and getting used to the Eyecam… in fact, I’m not sure I even want to know, although it’s definitely something Teyssier is studying. Does the human tech relationship drastically change when the tech takes on a more human avatar? We’re comfortable with smartphone front-facing cameras casually pointing at us when we’re staring at our screens. What happens when that camera adopts a human appearance? How would our behaviors change if the surveillance around us felt that much more tangible?

If Black Mirror-esque dystopia excites you, you can actually build your own Eyecam from scratch. Marc’s been kind enough to document his entire process in great detail, and has even made hardware and software files available on Github. Just promise you won’t scare anyone to death! Remember, Big Brother’s always watching!

Designer: Marc Teyssier

The Eyecam comes built to scale, with remarkably human-like proportions and even details like skin-folds, wrinkles, and crow’s feet for that added realism.

The camera sits within an eyeball-shaped enclosure, which is rotated on multiple axes thanks to a series of motors and mechanisms that mimic the human eye’s randomized movement. *shudder*

Social experiment? Late April Fool’s Prank? Early Halloween experiment? You decide!

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 40 is a delightfully retro-looking instant camera!





At a glance, the Instax Mini 40 doesn’t look like the kind of camera you’d see in 2021. Although, given how we’re in an era of retro throwbacks, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 might have just nailed the retro-wave trend! With its black, boxy avatar, metallic accents, and that faux-leather texture that’s practically emblematic of vintage cameras, the Instax Mini 40 really takes us back to simpler times.

At its heart, the Instax Mini 40 is a pretty simple gadget. Unlike most cameras that come inundated with features, controls, and abilities to post stuff on social media, the Instax Mini 40 focuses more on having a very simplified UX… so all you need to really do is compose your shot, hit the button, and watch as your photo develops. The camera takes care of the rest, triggering the flash, auto-exposing the shot, and printing out your image with slightly soft details and a high contrast – just as you would expect with any Polaroid shot.

The instant camera’s simplified UX is evident in how you use the camera too. Press the large silver button on the front and the lens pops open, switching the camera on. The camera comes with two shooting modes too – a standard mode and a selfie mode. To toggle the selfie mode, just pull the lens out a little further and it changes its focal length, allowing subjects closer to the camera to be in focus. When you want to shut the camera, just push the lens back in and the Instax Mini 40 powers down.

Ultimately, the Instax Mini 40 may look like a serious retro-inspired camera, but it’s more of an entry-level camera meant for people who take the retro-trend seriously. Its body is all-plastic (and so are the metallic accents), making for a camera that does feel slightly on the cheaper side, even though it sports a $100 price tag. It shares most of its features with the $70 Instax Mini 11, albeit in a smaller, more 70-80s inspired design. The camera will be available later this month, and for an extra couple of bucks, you can even grab yourself a leatherette case with a shoulder-sling.

Designer: Fujifilm

Lacoste-themed Polaroid 600 instant film camera is boxy crocodile every photography enthusiast will love!

As the gloom of the pandemic continues, two brands – rather distinct in approach – have collaborated for a Spring 2021 collection complete with a rainbow of colors. The Technicolor capsule collection is an outcome of the uncanny partnership between Lacoste and Polaroid that comprises an instant camera and clothing made in each other’s iconic styles.

Lacoste-themed Polaroid 600 instant film camera in red and green hue is the highlight of the consortium. This boxy camera mimics the former’s crocodile logo – in an animated form of course – when the built-in flash is popped open. The peppy camera strikes an instant chord with the era gone by thanks to its retro look and bold use of colors. On the other hand, Polaroid-themed Lacoste apparels feature Technicolor sweatshirts, tracksuits, swimwear, T-shirts, and the like, with Polaroid photo prints in the brand’s rainbow logo that transports you back to the 1960s.

While the spectrum of Polaroid colors goes from photography to fabric, the Lacoste touch to the Polaroid camera transposes a new attraction to the classic Polaroid 600 instant film camera. A genuine piece of vintage retro-tech, this is in all respects a functional camera instead of being just a charming little boxy crocodile one may count it out for on the first glance. With its retro spirit, this new Polaroid 600 offers highly saturated style and if you want to own the fancy cam, it is available in Europe along with a strap and a pack of 600 color film for €150.

Designer: Lacoste x Polaroid

Click Here to Buy Now!

The OnePlus 9 series will debut with Hasselblad-tuned cameras on March 23rd

OnePlus will unveil its latest flagship smartphones — the OnePlus 9 5G series — during a streaming launch event at 9 AM Eastern on March 23rd. And when those phones make their debut, they'll pack cameras tuned by 180-year-old Swedish camera maker...

With its avant-garde design + 108MP camera, the Xiaomi Mi 11 directly challenges the iPhone 12 Pro

Xiaomi was smart to center its smartphone innovation around the camera. Sure, the Mi 11 is the first phone to come with a Snapdragon 888 SoC, but the chipset isn’t as important as what it actually powers… an Android phone designed to be a cinematic behemoth that takes on the iPhone 12 Pro.

For long, the biggest comparison between Android and iOS devices has been the camera… specifically the still camera. Video has hands-down been Apple’s secret sauce all along, but the Mi 11 brings the fight to Apple with its 108MP Wide-Angle camera with optical image stabilization, a 13MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP ‘telemacro’ camera, and an incredible AI that works behind the scenes to make the Mi 11’s videos, as Xiaomi likes to say, ‘cinematic’. The AI powers the Mi 11’s low-light mode which can take underexposed videos and enhance them in realtime with a RAW-level AI. The AI even brings features like Magic Zoom (or the iconic Dolly Zoom effect seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo), along with Time Freeze and Freeze-Frame Videos, Time Lapse, along with a variety of cinematic filters that make your videos mimic the effect of being recorded using a professional setup, and an AI Erase 2.0 feature that lets you remove unwanted objects from your video.

As remarkable as Xiaomi touts its camera setup to be, it’s the screen that reinforces this. The Mi 11’s WQHD+ set 13 new records and received an A+ rating from DisplayMate. HDR10+ video recording and 10-bit color representation make everything you shoot look much more vivid, and color-accurate. With Super Resolution Technology, Xiaomi claims it can upscale older videos too, doubling their resolution to make pixelated videos clearer than before. The cherry on the cake is the speaker on the flagship smartphone, which comes powered by Harman Kardon, a partnership that helps enhance the acoustics of the dual speakers, providing exquisite and crisp high-end sound quality. This makes everything from video recording to video playback an experience that’s quite literally a class apart.

The flagship phone also comes with a flagship-worthy design. The Quad-curved display on the front allows the bezels to fade away into the background, creating an immersive experience that’s reinforced by Corning’s Gorilla® Glass Victus™. The back features 3D glass too, and is available in 3 standard colors, as well as a Xiaomi Signature rippled glass edition that explores light, shadow, and pearlescent reflections in an absolutely new way. The phone comes with WiFi 6 and support for 5G. It even packs 55W wired turbo-charging, 50W wireless turbo-charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging on the back, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor on the front that even functions as a heart-rate monitor… a first of its kind!

What really stands out is how the Mi 11 embodies everything that an iPhone-rivalling Android phone should be. It has a laser-like focus on on championing video with hardware as well as a powerful AI, but also nails other aspects with that gorgeous quad-curved WQHD+ screen, the Snapdragon 888 SoC, a rich speaker courtesy Harman Kardon, powerful wired AND wireless charging, support for 5G, and a heart-rate monitor integrated right into the smartphone… all wrapped in a sleek, curved, drop-dead gorgeous design that’s drop-resistant too, thanks to the Gorilla Glass Victus. Pre-orders for the Mi 11 begin on February 26 (followed by full-scale availability in March) with a base price of €749 ($903).

Designer: Xiaomi