Shouldn’t the proposed U+23FF OBSERVER EYE SYMBOL be an emoji ?

From: Frédéric Grosshans <>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2016 00:09:33 +0100

Dear Unicode list readers (cc Simon Griffee, Rick McGowan),

I have some problems with the proposed *U+23FF OBSERVER EYE SYMBOL
(named so in the pipeline and
in the Draft additional repertoire for ISO/IEC 10646:2016 (5th edition)

As far as I understood, this character is intended to be added to
Unicode to represent the eye which is frequently represented in optics
schematics, to represent the observer. Simon Griffee as proposed this
symbol in L2/15-031R
( with some more
examples provided by Rick McGowan in L2/15-095

In a few words (more details below), I think this character is actually
used beyond optics should be encoded as an emoji with properties (and
aspect) similar to 👁 U+1F441 EYE, with a name like EYE SIDE VIEW. I
also think it would be better if it were moved to an emoji block
(1F900–1F9FF Supplemental Symbols and Pictographs ?)

I intend to write and submit a formal document later, and I write this
mail in order to gather advices on the best way to advance further.


=== The details of my objections ==

I agree with Simon Griffee is a standard symbol used in optics an
related fields, and it is attested from the 16th to 21st century. It is
clearly needed, and I have seen other characters, like e.g. ∢U+2222
SPHERICAL ANGLE, used on diagrams to replace it. However, I have not
seen intermixed with plain text, and I don’t find the example of
L2/15-031 convincing but I’m not sure whether this kind of criterion is
relevant in the current “emoji-era”.

I think this symbol is better represented by an emoji named EYE SIDE
VIEW (or a similar name)

I. Other common representation of the observer in optical context are
encoded as emojis.

Three examples are 🎥 👁 ☺
🎥U+1F3A5 MOVIE CAMERA, (e.g. fig 8 of , )
  👁 U+1F441 EYE (e.g. fig K page 124 of, or

II. This symbol is often used together with other emoji-like symbols on
For example 🌣 U+1F323 WHITE SUN, 💡U+1F4A1 ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB, but
also 🌴 U+1F334 PALM TREE

III. In centuries-old printed publications as well on recent website, it
appears both in a really schematic way (like ∢) as well as in a detailed
graphical drawing, including lashes and brows. This remembers the text
vs emoji variants induced by VS15 and VS16 on emojis.

IV. The symbol itself is an eye seen from the side, hence the name EYE
SIDE VIEW I propose. I think the name OBSERVER SYMBOL is not adapted,
since this symbol is sometimes used with other semantics, and a
disunification is probably not worth the trouble. Some examples of other
meanings include

a) The eye itself,1197707547,8/stock-vector-eye-drops-symbol-7816558.jpg

b) Ophtalmology

c) Sight

d) The “eye of the mind”, as in this 14th century book reproduced here

e) If another eye-looking symbol is encoded, one can be almost sure it
will be used as emoji, and it is probably safer to anticipate this use.
Received on Sun Feb 07 2016 - 17:10:55 CST

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