340 - The Eyeborg

Canadian documentary-maker Rob Spence is known as "The Eyeborg." Here he explains why:

Rob Spence (Canadian accent)

I was nine years old and I took a gun to shoot a pile of cow shit! I hit it: there was an explosion of shit. Unfortunately, I also damaged my eye very badly, so I didn’t lose the eye then, but… I did lose the eye six years ago because the eye just got worse and worse. So, by the time I lost the eye, I was a documentary film maker. So that, combined with the fact that I have a Six Million Dollar Man doll – action figure, not a doll – from when I was a kid… with… where you can look through the back of his head to his right eye. So I was like, “I might as well make an eye camera.” I called engineers, who have been very kind… to me, and it’s the kind of project a lot of engineers enjoy; it’s a little bit science fiction, and we… about a year-and-a-half ago, we got Time magazine’s “One of the best inventions of the year.” As you can imagine, after I got a camera eye made , I became very interested in cyborgs and all things cybernetic, so one day, when I was on Twitter, twittering about cyborgs, I got a call from Square Enix (the video game makers), and they were like, “Would you be interested in becoming a spokesborg for Deus Ex: Human Revolution?” And I said, “Well, you know, I make documentaries. Why don’t you let me make a documentary about what I’m on Twitter about every day… it’s… it’s a documentary I’d like to do, I’d like to do it with my camera eye. Just let me go around the world and talk to some of the most advanced cyborgs now.” And obviously the footage that these guys came up with is amazing, as a film maker, of course I want to cut to the future, excellent, you know, Adam Jensen style. So they were really great, they just gave me complete freedom to go out and film whatever I wanted, but I think we were so on the same page that, you know, it just… it just worked out really well. I met some people that are absolutely incredible. The first guy I interviewed, he’s completely blind, but at one point he had a chip on his retina so that he could read 4-centimetre text, he could recognise objects, and that is the combination of his bionic eye and my bionic eye is… is getting into the future, what… what this guy (he points to the poster of Deus Ex: Human Revoluton hero Adam Jensen) has in his head. (He puts the camera in his eye). Children love this. My… my niece… I have two nieces, they just go (he imitates a child’s facial expression of total amazement).