Monday, February 23, 2009

Eye, Robot

I came across this woman's blog today. Tanya Vlach, a 35 year old artist residing in San Francisco, lost the function of her left eye in a car accident over three years ago. Now she wants to replace her dead eye with a prosthetic one that has a built-in camera. Problem is, no such eye exists. Not yet, anyway. Tanya has placed an APB on her blog to all interested techies and engineers out there who would like to tackle her proposal head-on. It's not as impossible as you might think. Click on her blog--Eye, Tanya--to read more. Alternatively, you can read a longer and more detailed article which appeared in the Washington Post last month here. Tanya links to the article (and over a half dozen more) on her blog's main page, too.

The sci-fi geek in me thinks this is just so cool! I would love to see her dream come true. It's a daunting task, though. While it's true that cameras are getting smaller and smaller these days, and what with the amazing tool Bluetooth has become, I don't think we're quite at that place where such an eye can be grown. But we will be in the next 10 to 15 years, tops.

In the meantime, I'm still shocked to learn that prosthetic eyes have come so far. Tanya hasn't had her whole eye removed, but wears a sort of rubberized-like cosmetic sliver over her damaged orb to give the appearance of a working, normal eye. I guess it's like a much more expensive version of a painted contact lens! It's a long ways away from the days when people had to grip uncomfortable glass orbs with their eye socket while in polite company. Ouch!

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