NTT Billboards Are Watching You Look

Billboards in Japan created by NTT's Cyber Space Laboratories are able to watch you looking at them. The billboards are intended to measure the effectiveness of the commercial message placed for public viewing.

"On many street corners and railway stations there are many digital signs," said Tetsuya Kinebuchi, a senior research engineer at NTT's Cyber Space Laboratories and developer of the system. "To automatically measure the effectiveness of the advertisements we can put a camera and PC nearby, and by using the image from the camera we can estimate how many people are looking at the monitor."

It's interesting to note that this system has been developed because Japanese cities are covered with ads. How can marketers determine if anyone is looking?

The system uses image detection software; it estimates how many faces are actually looking at the camera, which is placed just above the billboard.

This device is not as intrusive as the personalized graphic advertisements from Steven Spielberg's 2002 film Minority Report. The system does not attempt to identify individuals, and the commercial message will not change based on your identity.

NTT engineers are being very careful about your privacy; take a look at these other systems to see how other corporations are handling it.

Via Japanese billboards are watching back and the dark-haired girl fans at frolix_8.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/18/2008)

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