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Mannequins That Watch Shoppers 97

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feel-my-stare dept.
SternisheFan writes with news of a creepy mannequin that watches you as you shop. From the article: "Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores. Retailers are introducing the EyeSee ... The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending. The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside ... Inside, it's no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. Demand for the device shows how retailers are turning to technology to help personalize their offers as growth slows in the $245 billion luxury goods industry. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market will expand 5 percent in 2012, less than half last year's rate. 'It's a changing landscape but we're always going to be sensitive about respecting the customer's boundaries,' said spokesman Colin Johnson. ... Since the EyeSee doesn't store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license."
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Mannequins That Watch Shoppers

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  • Since the EyeSee doesn't store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license."

    Can someone European (or British, I expect?) explain this point? I know about the Beeb's "TV license", but thought that applied only if you use a TV to watch OTA content. For closed circuit, what the hell do you pay for?
    • by Zibodiz (2160038)
      I would assume this isn't a license for the screen, but rather a license for the privilege of recording. I'm sure the logic was something like 'Without a mandatory license, there would be no way to prosecute people who record others through a bedroom window without their knowledge.'
      • by Anonymous Coward
        More likely it's just revenue. It's already one of the most surveilled places on earth.
    • by 0racle (667029)
      See Also: Liqueur License.
    • They should create a mannequin that morphs into the person it's observing, maybe it could just steal the face of the person since body sizes are so drastically different, but then you could "see yourself" in the clothes that the mannequin is modeling. That'd be cool, and super creepy. Just the sort of future we here at Slashdot prefer! :)
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Since the EyeSee doesn't store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license."

      Can someone European (or British, I expect?) explain this point? I know about the Beeb's "TV license", but thought that applied only if you use a TV to watch OTA content. For closed circuit, what the hell do you pay for?

      What is funny about this (have no idea about the license shit) is that you can put a recorder on the device at that point. So sure, maybe you are missing the digital to digital connection (it would be digital to analog back to digital for those who can't follow), but the ability to record it is still there.

      • Sure. And you can just install a hidden camera. So what?

        The point is not to make it technically impossible to record. They just didn't put record capabilities because it's illegal to record anyway, so it'd be useless.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought that theories about human races have been debunked as unscientific myths a long, long time ago?

    • by lxs (131946)

      No no no! They race humans for sport. I've seen it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure it can detect more than just race. For example, if you are fat then maybe there will be a big ad for McDonalds just ahead. And if you look starved then maybe there will be a big ad for McDonalds just ahead. And if you have kids with you then maybe there will be a big ad for McDonalds just ahead. And if you are wearing a vegan or vegitarian t-shirt then maybe the security guards will be waiting ahead to escort you to either McDonalds or the street.

    • Only if that were so. Lots of Government forms I see has "RACE" on it.

      And what do mixed heritage people use for "race"? The one with the most melatonin?

  • i have clothes from Wal Mart that have outlasted some of the snobby store shit i've bought for 10 times the price

    most of this luxury crap is crappy quality wrapped up in a snobby store experience

    i used to buy $350 Mephisto shoes until they started to fall apart on me after 6 months. I can buy $150 shoes that last longer

    • Compromise: $30 shoes which last 6 months.

      • The best value by far in shoes is Dr Martens. Especially if you drag your feet. You see, they have a guarantee on the sole of the shoe. If it wares out before the rest of the shoe, you can take yours into any retailer and trade them in for a new pare for free. I bought my first pair of Dr Martens over 15 years ago and haven't bought another pair since. I trade them in about every 1.5 to 2 years.
        • by Nyder (754090)

          The best value by far in shoes is Dr Martens. Especially if you drag your feet. You see, they have a guarantee on the sole of the shoe. If it wares out before the rest of the shoe, you can take yours into any retailer and trade them in for a new pare for free. I bought my first pair of Dr Martens over 15 years ago and haven't bought another pair since. I trade them in about every 1.5 to 2 years.

          Maybe in england, but here in the USA Dr. Martens don't last. I will crack the sole of the shoe in less then a year. Of course, this was back in the 80's & early 90's.

          Another thing I found about Dr. Martens if it's freezing out, once the bottom of the shoe freezes you lose all traction. Like you strapped ice to your shoes.

          Don't get me wrong, i loved the Dr. Martens, but they were NOT made to last.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_law_of_diminishing_returns

      There's a price point well below the maximum price point for any given product where you're getting the best value for your currency of choice. After that, there's this thing called diminishing returns; you get *LESS* value for your currency of choice! At the very top-end, you're running in to what I call the "PT Barnum effect", i.e.: "There's a sucker born every minute."

      You can't simply spend the most possible on product 'x' and expect quality 'y

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      i have clothes from Wal Mart that have outlasted some of the snobby store shit i've bought for 10 times the price

      most of this luxury crap is crappy quality wrapped up in a snobby store experience

      i used to buy $350 Mephisto shoes until they started to fall apart on me after 6 months. I can buy $150 shoes that last longer

      There's "luxury" brands that get sold to the bourgois, that's you, that are of mediocre quality, not much better than the cheap stuff, but sometimes slightly better. Usually you get a better warranty and customer service from the company. Gucci and stuff of that calibre fall into this category. You never see "real" wealthy people using this shit. It's typically easy to spot because the label is huge.

      Then there's "luxury" brands that get sold to poor people. These are almost always shoddy quality, they'

      • by jxander (2605655)

        Or to simplify (perhaps oversimplify) : there is an inverse relationship between advertising and quality.

        I mean advertising in all forms : television and radio commercials, logo emblazonment, product placement, celebrity endorsement, etc.

        And it's true on more than just clothes. Food, beer, sporting and outdoorsy equipment, computer operating systems, just about anything. Even in markets that are completely and utterly flooded with advertisements (cars come to mind most prominently) I've found, anecdotall

      • I'll plug good shoes instead of crap:
        Ecco
        Worth every penny. The one time I had a pair that I actually finally wore through the sole, they sent me a new pair.

        They are branded on the boots, but it's embossed in the leather, and small.
        -nb

    • by pwizard2 (920421)
      Most of the Faded Glory stuff you get at Walmart is pure shit that won't last 6 months but their jeans are good. I have several pairs of FG jeans which cost me $8-10 that are still wearable (though a bit faded) 3-4 years after I bought them even after being washed several times a week during the winter months. More expensive jeans had holes in them after a year or less. My $20 Walmart shoes have lasted 7 months, about as long as shoes that cost >= $60.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        I miss my old Toughskin jeans. I did indeed grow out of them before they wore out.

      • My shoes ... Size 13 Costco Court Classics, are 1 1/2 years old, worn just about every day, and are just now needed replacement. Cost $15. Hard to justify spending more on other shoes.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      So you've discovered that "you get what you pay for" is a lie? Good for you, I don't know why anyone ever believed that horse shit. I don't understand what (except ignorance or stupidity) would have someone buy a can of name brand corn when it's exactly the same corn as generic, except at half the price. I can't understand why anyone would buy Alieve when it's three times as costly as generic naproxin when naproxin is all Alieve is.

      I paid seventy five cents for my Nike tea shirt at a garage sale. People are

      • Sometimes, sure. I normally burn through shoes. As in, have tears in a pair in a year given daily use, and sometimes even holes in the sole. I also normally buy shoes that cost no more than $50 or so. This year, I decided to try something different and bought a pair of Doc Martens for $100. I've hit a year and so far they've held up better than any other shoe I've given the same amount of punishment to. Verdict is still out on whether or not they will survive at least two years, which will determine w
  • ... is pretty frightening when you get down to it. The government doesn't have to do a thing it will all happen to "stop the bad guys" under the guise of legitimate reasons.

    • Surveillance is a result of moral decay. When businesses lose tons of inventory to "slippage", there is a problem. But nobody wants to talk about that.

  • since when? agree to be filmed? which magical kingdom is this where store owners need such permissions?

    it'll just tell you what kind of people visit your store. this is of limited use to very few stores on earth where the store owner or any employee doesn't bother to visually see what kind of people are coming to the store. the article mentions personalization many times but the product mentions many times it only stores information that's not identifiable to a person.

    the real statistic that the store owner

    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/licensing-who-cctv.aspx

    • by na1led (1030470)
      Must be a new "Use Tax" law. Leave it to the greedy politicians to find new ways to tax us.
  • And you have a complete store security system. The mannequin spots the shoplifters, and the Boxer whacks them.

  • by omnichad (1198475) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:56PM (#42056789) Homepage

    They'll send Jim Caviezel to follow you around if you decide not to buy anything.

  • Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:11PM (#42057031) Homepage Journal

    Retailers have used cameras hidden in mannequin eyes for over 20 years. And they have been using facial recognition on CCTV feeds since the technology became available to them. This just puts the two products together inside one package.

  • by Hentes (2461350)

    Now shops will make mannequins even more creepy.

  • I'm a human and I can't accurately judge age, gender, and race very well a significantly portion of the time. There's no way a robot could do better at such a subjective, human-specialized task.
    • Humans are shitty at guessing race. My brother is half Hawaiian, but living in Arizona not a single person could guess his race correctly. Growing up in Hawaii, a Filipino friend of mine related his experience living in Wisconsin: everyone thought he was black and called him the N-word constantly. Humans are the ones programming these racial profiling algorithms, and thus will always be shit poor at it.
      • That doesn't show that humans are neccarily shitty as guessing race, only that backwater hillbillies are.
      • I frequently program computers to accomplish tasks that I cannot do myself. That's kind of the point of their existence.

        • Way to miss the point completely. Any rules you program to profile race are going to come flawed with your prejudices and ignorance. Your statement seems to imply you write perfect code, which tells me you probably don't write much code at all.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I'm a human and I can't tell whether a swatch of color is burgundy or maroon. There's no way a robot could do better at such a subjective, human specialized task.

      Ok, sure the computer couldn't get it right all the time, but it could probably do an OK job, and not get bored with it's menial life and just start writing down answers instead of giving it a best guess.
      • I'm a human and I can't tell whether a swatch of color is burgundy or maroon. There's no way a robot could do better at such a subjective, human specialized task.

        if color == #9E0508 output burgundy
        if color == #691F01 output maroon

        Pretty sure computers have you beat.

  • What're you lookin' at? Huh? You lookin' at me? ANSWER ME!
  • Until it has ass recognition, it will remain blind to Freemasons everywhere.

  • Why are they placing this in mannequins' eyes? They just figured that mannequins approximate people and people see with their eyes, so voila? There are many face-level places to stash a camera that wouldn't "spur shops to adjust window displays and store layouts" and cause owners to rearrange the store to place a dummy somewhere that doesn't make sense. Forget the mannequin and put the camera in the wall! Place it in the rear of a window display! Stick it in a mannequin's eye if you want to! Then wire the d
  • Have a listen :)

  • I always feel like somebody's watching me [youtube.com].

    I'm just an average man with an average life
    I work from nine to five, hey, hell, I pay the price
    All I want is to be left alone in my average home
    But why do I always feel like I'm in the twilight zone


    I always feel like somebody's watching me
    And I have no privacy
    I always feel like somebody's watching me
    Tell me is it just a dream
    When I come home at night
    I bolt the door real tight
    • by Nyder (754090)

      I always feel like somebody's watching me [youtube.com].

      I'm just an average man with an average life

      I work from nine to five, hey, hell, I pay the price

      All I want is to be left alone in my average home

      But why do I always feel like I'm in the twilight zone

      I always feel like somebody's watching me

      And I have no privacy

      I always feel like somebody's watching me

      Tell me is it just a dream

      When I come home at night

      I bolt the door real tight

      then avoid the TV with a built in camera...

  • A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

    Does it set off the shoplifting alarm automatically when it sees three or more young black males enter the store together? It's bad enough that the police use this sort of profiling to harrass certain groups, but rolling it out to the private security firms that monitor store CCTV is really distasteful.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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