Don't miss a blinkin' thing with the BlinkCam

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It hadn’t bothered me before I read an article that claims the average human loses 192 hours of visual sight time to blinking during their lifetime.

Actually, it doesn’t really bother me now either – I’d rather have properly functioning eyes than constant waking vision any day. It bothered Andrew Schneider, though.

He’s a student in Despina Papadopoulos’ Wearable Technologies class at ITP, and invented the BlinkCam.

In a bid to ‘get these valuable moments of sight back’, the BlinkCam takes a Polaroid picture every time the wearer blinks. The article suggests (as does the picture) that the camera is pointed at the wearer, taking a photo of them when they blink:

The BlinkCam uses custom-built soft conductive thread and conductive fabric swtitches that complete the circuit of the hacked shutter-release button. The thread and fabric is affixed to the face with spirit gum and the simultaneous closing of both eyes triggers the camera to take a picture.

A few things immediately come to mind about this ‘solution’:

1. Polaroid photos are pretty expensive – the cost will soon mount up.
2. You’ll never fully review those vital missed milliseconds of visual time, as you’ll still be blinking when you’re looking at the photos.
3. Why would you want a load of photos of yourself blinking?
4. I can’t help feeling that any wearer of the BlinkCam will miss out on a lot more than a few hours of vision if they wear this all the time.
5. It’s not exactly environmentally friendly, is it? A digital version might be better, though I’m using the word ‘better’ loosely here.

There’s something vaguely cool, in a geeky way, here, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. Then again, maybe I’m just saying that to justify the writing of this article.

Wearable technology is great, but I don’t think that this one’s a mainstream hit.

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Andy Merrett