Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck Technology

Long Range Eye Tracking for Advertisers 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the The-unseen-mechanized-eye dept.
holy_calamity writes "A Canadian firm has launched a device that can track the gaze of multiple people from up to 10 metres away. Originally developed at Queen's University, Ontario, they hope to sell it to advertisers to allow them to monitor how many people look at their ads. Admittedly they are trying more benign stuff too like better hearing aids, but I doubt that will make up for movie posters that make a song and dance whenever you glance their way."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Long Range Eye Tracking for Advertisers

Comments Filter:
  • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:25PM (#19060773)
    They will be able to tell where I'm looking. Advertisers, Law Enforcement, that hot chick on the underground...

    Damn
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by malsdavis (542216)
      A pair of dark glasses and a 70's style trenchcoat will fix that. The hot chick will never suspect a thing.

      • Advertisers and Law enforcement, on the other hand... well, with them, you're just screwed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tomhudson (43916)

        "A pair of dark glasses"

        s/dark/mirrored/;

        ... and uv/ir blocking ...

        Or just walk around with a few laser pointers strapped to your head, lik a shark, and randomly zap the cameras as you stroll along. Just don't look at any airplains or helicopters, or you'll be arrested as a "terr'rist."

        (yes, I tested blinding a security camera with a laser pointer. You can easily do it from 10 meters if you can rest your hand on something, like a desk or counter, and "walk" the beam to the camera. It was fun watch

        • by Gordonjcp (186804)
          yes, I tested blinding a security camera with a laser pointer

          Security cameras (particularly monochrome ones) tend to be extremely sensitive to infra-red. Granted it makes targetting more difficult, but I'm sure you can come up with a targetting laser diode with a fixed offset from an invisible IR diode that will flatten out the camera.
    • OMG. Those creepy eyes in the portrait ARE following me!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Hello Mr. Yukkamoto and welcome back to the GAP!

      • In a world where advertisers/government can track and uniquely identify everyones retinas at range, and people get total eyeball replacement surgery to circumvent such, but the technology to produce mirrored sunglasses has been lost to history...
    • ... Viagra ads that loudly mock guys who glance nervously at them. And maybe add a little image recognition. Then your billboard can shout out, "Hey everybody, that bald guy in the suit over there can't get it up. Hahaha!" Nothing like a little peer pressure to get somebody to buy your product :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by wizzahd (995765)
      HAHA!
      "You can't see through them," they said!
      "Who would wear those?!" they said!

      The best move I ever made was patenting tin foil glasses!
  • RTS (Score:2, Interesting)

    This needs to replace the mouse. Give me this and Supreme Commander and I will... have fun.
    • Re:RTS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by panaceaa (205396) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:43PM (#19060951) Homepage Journal
      Using your eyes as a mouse [bbc.co.uk] has been tried before, but I've heard from user researchers that the eye jiggles around too much to make a reliable pointing device. If you've ever been at a usability study where there's an eye tracking device, you know what I mean -- the eye tracking dot dances all over the text, and even when a user's focusing on a button the eye dances around the corners of the button, and to the nearby buttons, while the user processes the button's meaning and makes sure he's clicking the right thing. One thing I can't explain is how the military uses eye tracking to aim missiles -- it seems like that system would run into the same problems.

      My basic feeling towards your idea is that it's absolutely great for disabled people, but personally I like being able to look at one thing but have my mouse hovering over something else.
      • by Steendor (917855)

        ...I like being able to look at one thing but have my mouse hovering over something else.
        For instance when the mouse cursor has to hover over the form/control you're typing in while you're looking at something else.
      • by ZorinLynx (31751)
        The eyes have to move a lot because otherwise you will see nothing.

        Retinal cells only detected *changes* in light intensity, not the light level itself. If your eyes doesn't move for a few seconds, what you are looking at will vanish completely.

        Try it; it's very hard to hold your eye perfectly still though.
        • Try it; it's very hard to hold your eye perfectly still though.
          Not only is it very hard, it's impossible to do it yourself! The muscle twitches that continuously "jiggle" your eyeball are involuntary. The experiment you suggest has been done using curare given by an anesthesiologist to a very brave guy.
      • One thing I can't explain is how the military uses eye tracking to aim missiles -- it seems like that system would run into the same problems.
        Don't they use the position/orientation of the HUD for that? The little glass projection screen is right in front of the eye and already displays the tactical info that can be seen there. INAMS.
      • One thing I can't explain is how the military uses eye tracking to aim missiles -- it seems like that system would run into the same problems.

        For missiles, I think the jitter wouldn't matter much. It should be pretty easy to average the direction that the eyes are looking at, while still providing control that is as responsive as the missile's capability to change direction. Those things have a pretty large turning radius. Also, when dealing with high explosives, it matters a lot less which part of the target you hit. For air-to-air, it really doesn't matter which wing you hit, or even if you hit the engine. You still have a pretty good chance o

      • It's called a saccade [wikipedia.org], and as another poster noted below, you wouldn't be able to see without it.
      • by danomac (1032160)

        One thing I can't explain is how the military uses eye tracking to aim missiles -- it seems like that system would run into the same problems.

        I would think that targeting buildings wouldn't need accuracy down to a millimeter. The targets are much bigger - with dialog buttons you're trying to target something that's maybe 2cm wide x 1cm tall.
        • by panaceaa (205396)
          True, however dialog buttons are about 2 feet from my face, and missile targets are between 10,000 and 100,000 feet away. Coupled with the fact that an object's visual size increases or decreases respective to the square of the distance to the object, missile targets seem like they'd be notably smaller than a dialog button.

          However, I do believe that eye tracking missile systems significantly zoom in on a target location. Given the periphery vision required to judge the location of the target based on cont
      • The military doesn't use eye tracking. They track the whole head, so when you turn and look its frame of vision follows yours.
    • by mleugh (973240)
      Simply blink to click.
      • And shoot during a game whilst your trying to sit and be a sniper? I think not...

        And I'd be pretty screwed if I was trying to shoot multiple enemy's quickly, I try and focus on where they are, not blink them away - I grew out of the "I can't see them so they can't see me" thing a long time ago ;)
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by mleugh (973240)
          My god, you're right! Nostril flaring (à la fluffy bunnies) would be a much better control method.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:29PM (#19060815)
    1. "Honestly honey, I was not looking at her breasts and that camera is a lying snitch".
    2. "Hey Bob, couldn't help to notice that you were staring at your crotch. Could I interest you in a Corvette?"
    3. "PLEASE PULL UP YOUR PANTS".
    • by darkciti (877732)
      Yeah, No thanks! I'll stick with sunglasses and cast iron hats if I have to. Marketing/Advertising is already out of control - they just added Google to their arsenal; so they need to just chill for a few years and be happy with what they have.
  • by justsomecomputerguy (545196) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:33PM (#19060855) Homepage
    we'll just be living in it.
  • Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZDRuX (1010435) * on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:36PM (#19060873)
    I hope some privacy groups outlaw this. I understand that being in public means you're open to any prying eyes about how you're dressed, which direction you're heading in or even the things to say to other people in the open. But tracking eye movement? I`m not sure if that feels "ok" with me... It's common understanding that even in public your "thoughts" are private and your own.. wouldn't it also apply to what your mind decides to look at?..

    If I decide to sneak a peak at an ad that shows a gay couple.. or shows an ad on how to deal with drug addiction.. will I be labeled as a gay drug addict to that/those companies?

    Maybe I should take off my tin foil hat for a bit and get some fresh air.. hopefully I`m just over reacting.
    • If I decide to sneak a peak at an ad that shows a gay couple.. or shows an ad on how to deal with drug addiction.. will I be labeled as a gay drug addict to that/those companies?
      Only if you sneak another peak ... and another, and another, and another.
    • No you won't, you are totally wrong. You forgot to add the tin foil hat after gay drug addict :(

      h
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)
      I think you're overreacting...

      "It's less accurate than those systems, but it is good enough to let us know whether you are looking at a display or billboard or not," says lead developer Roel Vertegaal from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada.

      I read that as a binary "yes-no" device: "Are those eyeballs looking at the ad? Yes or no?" If the answer is "no," then the camera only knows what you are NOT looking at, i.e. the billboard of interest.

      It also doesn't appear to be able to determine WHO is looking a

      • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Watson Ladd (955755) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @09:44PM (#19061499)
        That's before you hook it up to a face recognition system. The correct time to legislate is before foreseeable abuses happen, not after.
        • by frdmfghtr (603968)
          This is true; however, I didn't read that the device was technically capable of face recognition. It looks specifically for the infrared signature of an eyeball, not facial patterns.

          Not to say of course that the device can't do that (now or in future versions), it just wasn't mentioned in the article.
    • by BluBrick (1924)
      Colour me clueless, but I don't see a privacy issue with determining when people are looking at the ad, as long as there is no identification of who is doing the looking (including both absolute and relative identification).
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:36PM (#19060881)
    Are you looking at me?

    I'm sure Travis Bickle would have something to say about this...
  • Oh no... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:39PM (#19060915)
    I hope they don't start building these devices into women's clothing.
    • by macraig (621737)
      Could be worse, they could implant them in the backs of their heads... then women would have eyes where they've always claimed they had them.
    • by ddoctor (977173)
      Women have got them built-in already!!!!!!
  • by justsomecomputerguy (545196) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:41PM (#19060939) Homepage
    just a low-tech thought... But where will I find a pair that don't clash with my tinfoil hat?
  • they're called moms.

  • by bwy (726112)
    Admittedly they are trying more benign stuff too like better hearing aids

    Am I the only one who didn't understand that statement? Probably.
    • by Steendor (917855)
      Probably not - I had to finish the sentence before coming to a conclusion that may not be what they wanted to say.

      ...but I doubt that will make up for movie posters that make a song and dance whenever you glance their way.
      They seem to be comparing the potential annoyance factor of the different technologies.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      If you have a hearing aid that can filter out sound not coming from a particular direction, then presumably the people who are looking at you are a good direction not to filter sound from.

      Use your imagination.
    • Yes.
      They're trying to build hearing aids that use some kind of sonic location (determining sound origin) in combination with this eye-watching technology: when someone is looking at you and talking, they probably intend for you to hear it. Hence, it adjusts sound amplification accordingly.
    • by fuego451 (958976)
      My hearing aids have two directional microphones; one at 90 degrees forward and the other at 180 to the side. I have to push a tiny button on the aid to make the selection, I sometimes get self conscious about people thinking I'm sticking my finger in my ear, and switching becomes a pain-in-the-butt at times. These aids also have irritating sound limiters which partially block constant high or low pitch sound.

      I believe it would be great to have sound pick-up focused in the direction I'm looking and I hope t
  • Better uses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bender647 (705126) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:55PM (#19061055)
    I'd rather see this technology used to track my focus on the desktop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yenya (12004)
      I'd rather not.

      I often need to read something from one window (an example in the manpage, maybe), and write without looking into another window. This is why auto-raising the focused window is plain wrong (it can obscure the window you want to read from) and this is why using the device from TFA for focus tracking would not be usable.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        and this is why using the device from TFA for focus tracking would not be usable.

        Maybe not for you! But if the window you're looking on became more opaque than other windows (or more like, the others become less so) then it might make it easier to do the very task you describe because other items on your display will be less demanding of your attention.

        Personally, I want the technology at closer range, in my car. And I want a big fat database of road signs, so when I look at a sign that's mostly illegible

  • If I were them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Who235 (959706) <secretagentx9NO@SPAMcia.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:56PM (#19061071)

    . . .movie posters that make a song and dance whenever you glance their way

    If I were them, I'd make it so they moved more when you looked away - causing you to look back.

    In all seriousness though, this technology is a little creepy. Not only that, but tracking eye movement has to have better applications than simply refining the process of ad targeting.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      The problem is with billboards, and other advertisements like that, is that they're very expensive, and you can't really tell how well the ad did. Sure you can do things like analyze sales before and after the ad went up, but that doesn't really show that people are actually paying attention to the ad. Correlation vs. Causation. Anyway, I think that they want to know how many people are actually looking at these ads so that businesses can better justify the money they are spending on the advertising. I
    • by Artifex (18308)
      You could also build it into an anti-personnel mine for battlefield use.

      Imagine it sitting there quietly until people come across it. If it thinks it's not discovered, it's dormant, unless someone gets right up on it. But if someone looks while nearby, the element of surprise is blown anyway, so booooom. In fact, you could adapt it to make imagery like glinting metal with a tiny projector, when they're nearby, so they're drawn to it.

      Hey... it's no worse than making bomblets that look like kids' toys. Though
  • See Mom, I told you I have good reasons for not going outside.
  • You know the shows you like to watch are paid for by the advertisers. You need to do your civic duty and watch them. Also buy at least one product from the ads you watch each week. We'll make sure you do.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      That's an interesting idea. Either you buy tvs that have this device built into them, or they'll keep their television signal encrypted making it impossible to watch. I think it'd be the death of television myself with the direct to DVD market booming.
      • I'm pretty sure that YouTube would get the market share and not the DVD business.
      • Sorry what's this "television signal" you refer to? Would the loss of this affect my torrent TV channel in any way?
    • For more enjoyment, consumption is being standardized. Buy more. Buy more now.
  • I hereby coin the phrase "ass click"
  • by Tribbin (565963) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @09:11PM (#19061195) Homepage
    ... cross your eyes.
  • And you thought thinking that the eyes of 6 foot picture of some dead guy following you was weird when you moved throughout the house... wait until heritage pictures meet this new technology.
  • by Crazyscottie (947072) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @09:15PM (#19061227)
    In Soviet Russia, movie posters watch YOU!
  • Now you don't have to wear the heavy helmet to aim and shoot in an apache.
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @09:25PM (#19061299)

    A Canadian firm has launched a device that can track the gaze of multiple people from up to 10 metres away.


    Such devices already exist. They're called tits.

  • by Telcontar (819) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @09:34PM (#19061389) Homepage
    In Japan, there is a similar project studying whether eye tracking can be used to see how well people follow a virtual reality presentation. The idea is that if your gaze wanders off, then you lost track, and the presentation backtracks a bit to gain your attention again.

    The tool needed extensive calibration and only works reliably for people who do not wear glasses. So I think the technology is still a bit away from everyday commercial use.

    Even when not wearing glasses, the tool is not very precise. The demo had a male and female speaker. When I tried it, the male presenter complained that I was distracted by looking at the window next to the girl. Of course I was not distracted by the view of the landscape, but by the girl ;-)
  • by patlabor (56309)
    If a poster rests on a wall and no one is there to see it, does it sing and dance?
  • What's stopping someone from marrying this type of technology with a retinal scanner or image capturing device? There's a tonnes of privacy issues at stake here.

    From a Computerworld interview with Roel Vertegaal [computerworld.com.au], the researcher responsible for the technology:

    Although Vertegaal ruled out the marriage of the eyebox2 technology with retina scanners or image capturing devices, he conceded the possibility was out there and warned that if customers chose to combine the eyebox2 technology with other image capt

    • by jb1z (1099055) *
      What's stopping someone from marrying this type of technology with a retinal scanner or image capturing device? Nothing.
  • This sort of device will not be tolerated by me or my species.

    I firmly believe that advertisers should be put on a secluded island so they can fight to the death.
    • by pi8you (710993)
      They're gonna need a pretty big island to fit them all, might I suggest Antarctica? Might even have some room for the lawyers.
  • They could use the technology for applications like this [news.com.au].
  • How does Philip K. Dick feel about this? We can only hope he can prevent this tech^H^H^H^Hatrocity from coming to the US by filing some kind of lawsuit citing prior art.

    Where are the precogs? Who's writing the pre-crime legislation? Is the Gap salivating at the thought of a worldwide exclusive license to this atrocity?

  • by can56 (698639) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:55PM (#19062579)
    for this technology: Apple Computer announced today that it has developed a computer chip that can store and play music in women's breast implants. The iBreast will cost $499 to $599. This is considered to be a major breakthrough because women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them. Imagine if, everytime you looked at a breast, it played music!
  • How long do you think it will be before they incorporate this into DVDs so your movie won't play until they are sure you've watched every second of the ads? Oh don't worry, we'll pause while you blink. Maybe rewind a little bit.
  • You should see the movie "Looker".. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looker [wikipedia.org] & http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/ [imdb.com]

    scrapetorrent search for Looker torrent http://tinyurl.com/2rzte2 [tinyurl.com]

    It's all about advertising and other evil goals.
    They develop a technique to track viewers eye movements and a computer helps them improve the commercials to maximize profits by modifying the models (plastic surgery) and hypnotizing the viewers. And all that crap.
    And then they use the technique to try to take over the government.
  • Your fingerprints were on it, you must have been there and done it, right?

    A few years ago someone invented a system that can recreate what you can see in your field of view from the reflections in your eyes as seen in a photo. Extend these technologies to CCTV, and now the police can "prove" you could see something. "Prove" you knew. Except, we miss things all the time, even right in front of us...
  • If word gets out that people have conditioned themselves to ignore your obtrusive and annoying advertising, and that your multi-million dollar setup in Times Square isn't making people buy any more than otherwise as evidenced by how little people are actually looking at compared to what you expect, your business model will crumble.

    Not that some of you guys don't deserve unemployment.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

Working...