An ordinary ad catches your eye; as you look, the hidden camera captures information about you that the advertiser wants to know. This is the basis of systems like that offered by companies like Quividi.
The software provided by the company analyzes the scene in an ordinary store or other environment, ticking off successful attention grabs and filing lost opportunities away for later.
As shown in the picture below, the software is able to capture both the people who clearly make eye contact with the ad, and the people who do not. This lets advertisers know whether or not the ad and its placement are getting the eyeballs that the advertiser pays for.
The company claims that it can successfully identify gender up to 90 percent of the time; the software can present ads based on its determination in a small store environment. Age determination is also under development.
When the ad system pinpoints a face, it compares shapes and patterns to faces that are already identified in a database as male or female. That lets the system predict the person's gender almost immediately.
"The most important features seem to be cheekbones, fullness of lips and the gap between the eyebrows," said Paolo Prandoni, chief scientific officer of Quividi, a French company that is another player in face-tracking technology. Others include Studio IMC Inc. in New York.
We're getting very close to the Minority report ads illustrated so imaginatively in Steven Spielberg's 2002 film version of the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name.