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Spotlight: Mimi Zou, Inventor of IRIS

19
Jul

Hey Mimi, thanks so much for joining us. Tell us a bit about yourself and the work you’re doing.

My name is Mimi Zou, I’m an American product designer and recent graduate of the Royal College of Art. I am interested in the development of intelligent consumer electronic products, and our relationships with technology.

You developed IRIS, an eye-tracking camera as part of your studies at the Royal College of Art in London. What is Iris and what can you do with it?

IRIS is a biometrics enabled camera controlled by your eye. It understands who you are by looking at your iris signature, and lets you capture exactly what you see by tracking your eye. With this project I hoped to bring about a refreshing new product experience, and challenge the existing interaction, typology and capabilities of cameras.

IRIS allows the user to capture footage in a natural way. Among its many features, the camera could identify the photographer, people in photos, the environment in which it functions, and share content instantaneously.

What technology do you use inside of Iris to make all this magic happen?

Many technologies collaborate to enable the functions of IRIS. Some of the most notable ones include biometric validation, eye tracking, machine learning, and WiFi connectivity.

You built a working prototype of the camera, how did you manage to get all these complex high-tech in this small camera?

The prototype began as a hack of existing products, and was quite large with different functional components being physically separate but working together. Through iterations of redesign, components have been replaced by smaller alternatives. This is an ongoing process affected by the resources available.

Do you have any further plans with IRIS?

It has been an great experience developing IRIS, I hope to take it further and bring it to the world.

Do you believe that maybe more and more electronic devices, such as smartphones, cameras or tablets make use of biometric technology to interact with the device?

I think that could be beneficial, depending on the application. In my opinion, biometric technology has tremendous potential in bridging the gap of understanding between us and our products. And as I have tried to demonstrate through IRIS, it could be a key in helping products learn about their users.

You just finished your studies. What are your plans for the future?

Yes, I have just graduated! I am excited to continue working as a designer, and look forward to creating more products that serve to enhance our everyday lives.

Mimi, thank you so much for joining us. We are really looking forward to seeing IRIS in the wild.