Project Details
Project Name :


Project Category :

bruno, Featured Project, marc, marion, Paul

Client Review :

(CHI 2021)

Description :


Anthropomorphic Webcam

What if seeing devices looked like us? Eyecam is a prototype exploring the potential future design of sensing devices. Eyecam is a webcam shaped like a human eye that can see, blink, look around and observe us.

Eyecam is a prototype developed and built by Marc Teyssier. The publication is a collaboration with members of the teams: Marion Koelle, Paul Strohmeier, Bruno Fruchard and Jürgen Steimle.
Visit Eyecam project page on Marc Teyssier's Website download the medias high-resolution pictures and HD video or to know more about the project.
For contact, please reach teyssier@cs.uni-saarland, koelle@cs.uni-saarland and steimle@cs.uni-saarland.

We are surrounded by sensing devices. We are accustomed to them, appreciate their benefits, and even create affective bonds and might neglect the implications they might have for our daily life. By presenting Eyecam, an anthropomorphic webcam mimicking a human eye, we challenge conventional relationships with ubiquitous sensing devices and call to re-think how sensing devices might appear and behave. Inspired by critical design, Eyecam is an exaggeration of a familiar sensing device that allows for critical reflections on its perceived functionalities and its impact on human-human and human-device relations. We identify 5 different roles Eyecam can take: Mediator, Observer, Mirror, Presence, and Agent. Contributing design fictions and thinking prompts, we allow for articulation on privacy awareness and intrusion, affect in mediated communication, agency and self-perception along with speculation on potential futures. We envision this work to contribute to a bold and responsible design of ubiquitous sensing devices.

Why Eyecam ?

Webcams that are in front of us, looking at us, constantly. What if the webcam looked like a human eye ? We are familiar with the human eye, and a webcam and a human eye share a purpose: they “see.” But in contrast to the webcam human eye are expressive. Human eyes can express happiness, anger, boredom or fatigue. They can look curious, distracted or focused. Eyecam is a prototype exploring the potential future design of sensing devices. Using the parallel with the human eye open up a whole new layer of interaction that hasn't existed in technical artefacts before.

A project to think

The goal of this project is not to develop a 'better' design for cameras, but to spark a discussion. We are surrounded by sensing devices, up to the point we are unaware of their presence and we stop questioning their form and how (or if) they work. This project highlights the privacy issues of sensing devices; is it watching ? Is it listening ? Are you really sure ? Through novel and uncanny design, it also highlights the relationship we have with our devices.  


We want people to experience it. Seeing a video and having it looking at you is not the same feeling. Eyecam is Open-Source (https://github.com/marcteys/eyecam). In this project the main technical challenge was to pack the motors and electronics (e.g pupils that is an actual camera) as tightly as possible inside the eye "body". We believe that this mechanism can benefit makers or educators from various fields, from robotics to art. And maybe it can inspire them to create provoking, novel or uncanny sensing devices.


Marc Teyssier, Marion Koelle, Paul Strohmeier, Bruno Fruchard, Jürgen Steimle
In Proceedings of the 32nd ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’21), ACM Press, 2021 (to appear).
[Pdf] [Publisher]