What Are You Looking At?

Some day computers and apps will be able to monitor what you are looking at by watching your eyes. This eye tracking technology is in it’s infancy at the time I am writing this blog.  It  has not yet permeated our society.

Eye Tracking Technology

Eye Tracking Technology

At the moment, much of the focus has been on tracking the eyes of one person at a time. Eventually, it may be possible to track the eye movements of a room full of people simultaneously. They would not all need to be facing the same direction or wearing special glasses. Omni directional cameras could be strategically placed to see all eyes everywhere.

Omni Directional Camera

Omni Directional Camera

This could help architects and designers better understand how people perceive their environments. It could also help advertisers know when their ads have been seen. In a venue like a sporting event, it would be extremely valuable to know if the the most valued ad realestate lived up to it’s price.

Did You See My Ad?

“Did  you see my ad and for how long did you look? Did you just look or did your eyes read the text?” Advertisers want to know the answer.

When dealing with one person, It might be possible to project an image in such a way that no matter where that person looks, they see the projection. Eye tracking technology could determine where you are looking, and a moveable projector could create the display.

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34 thoughts on “What Are You Looking At?

    1. suegiplaye

      If this eye tracking technology came into effect I believe it would be able to catch a lot of criminals. A lot of people that are about to rob a bank or store will eye the environment in a suspicious type a way. Maybe this technology can track down a criminal faster. Just a thought.

      1. ellyjude

        Your thought is great. I think the same way too. The device should be put in strategic points so that it can view all people in a particular area. But because this is technology, People must invent other means of corrupting these devices. Just wait and see.

  1. Jennifer Svenson

    I work in a lab every day. It would be very helpful to know and have a record of what I look at for certain experiments. It would be even more helpful to have something that syncs up what I’m looking at and what I am typing on in my computer.

    1. Wheezybz

      Google Glass, Microsoft Iris, these are not on the level of what is being proposed. They involve having a piece of technology be right in front of your eyes to read your eyes. What’s being proposed is the ability to see what others see without having everyone carrying a piece of tech.

  2. Charles 49er

    Technology is as a rocket. It’s taking us to place his new and great. We just need to have good privacy rules in effect. Then have the people in charge swear an oath. People will hold them accountable.

  3. Bear12

    Technology is like a runaway freight train. Every time I come on here I get a little excited and a little bit afraid. Do we really want people knowing what we look at all the time?

    1. nss

      I agree, I think this is quite frightening! It is an interesting concept though. Advertisers would certainly be in love with this and I’m sure this would help researchers of many fields find out how to appeal to the human eye. I hope this doesn’t actually come to fruition though, I don’t want my eyes to be watched. They’re fine as they are.

  4. Jasmine2015

    I also agree that technology is getting frightening. I worry about what would happen if my electronic equipment were to be hacked and then they use my stored data on what I look at. It seems that the technology developing will benefit advertisers and any big businesses.

  5. Liv6

    I think the most frightening part of this is that advertisers can make it so that any way you look, you still see the projection of their advertisement. The whole idea is pretty creepy, however. While I agree that it can help businesses improve their marketing, this is an invasion of privacy.

  6. CrowdedHighways

    The issue once again comes down to the question of privacy. I am all for the newest technologies, as long as they do not intrude into mine, or any other person’s, private life. This looks awesome, but I imagine that there are many risks associated with actually introducing this in real life.

  7. Freelancepreneur

    I think ultimately this may be a tad bit too intrusive. It reminds me of some of the Futurama episodes from a long time ago where they put commercials in your mind while you sleep, it just hits a little too close to home and I think for long-term practical use it would be essentially an invasion of our privacy!

  8. turtledove

    The advancement in technology means that people are slowly losing their privacy. I’m not sure if I’d want my every look to be predicted and tracked. I like to look where I like when in public, and I don’t want to have to worry about something tracking and predicting what I’m going to do next!

  9. danielledavidson

    I think that this would be something super cool. I mean I get that it would be a great marketing tool. That way more people will be able to see how many people are acually looking at thier ads. That way, if people aren’t really looking at them they can try to make something that will catch more people’s eyes. I mean right now the commercials that they have, people don’t know if they are really reaching out to people. This way they will be able to know if they are or not.

    1. WanderingSoul

      Are ads necessarily a bad purpose? Though I can imagine that this’ll make them that much more intrusive, but I’m sure this practice will be discouraged and self-regulate as the technology gets adopted. I mean, pop-ups and on-page ads are already discouraged from being too frequent or obstructive.

  10. guruproto

    I can believe that this type of technology can see the light of day in the coming years. And you are correct – a major application of this technology would be ads. There was an interesting advertisement I saw a while ago that incorporates some of the elements in this technology.

    A small company used eye-tracking technology to find what perspective (in terms of degrees) that a small child could view an ad. Using the information gleaned from this, they created an advertisement for children. These are ads targeted for victims of child abuse. If you were an adult and tried to view the ad, you would simply see something for the latest child clothing or charity. But, any child that sees the ad, again from the perspective that was found using the eye-tracking software, would see a beaten and bruised child. They would see information regarding who to call or look for if “Mommy or Daddy are hurting you.”

    I can definitely see this becoming a reality.

  11. thecorinthian

    The eyes are really doorways to another world. That’s why I think being blind is like living in another country. The way we see things and why is important not only to understanding our desires but the whole collective consciousness of the human race. I often wonder, as one does how do I open up my perceptions to include those of other beings? In the future will our eyes evolve into things that will be able to see wavelengths and possibly sound? Great article as always.

  12. Potatoman

    This has so many benefits to people with movement disabilities. I can’t wait for something like this to be become widely available and at an affordable price. There are too many people who can’t use certain technologies because of their lack of moving abilities and it’s technology like this that is going to drastically improve those people’s lives for the better. Really excited to see this become common use for people within the next few years!

  13. rhauze

    I just have this feeling that one thing that technology would lead to would be more intrusive ads. If a company knows where I look the most, then I’m going to get bombarded with ads all the more often. I do like what someone above me said, about being able to catch shoplifters more effectively. Tracking people’s eye movements in that case could be an effective tipoff.

  14. spaceboytaylor

    This is really interesting. I tend to forget that every time I look at something my eyes move at the same time. It’d be cool to study such a small part of our lives that we tend to ignore but play a huge lives in our very existence. I am very much looking forward to more on this kind of technology.

  15. ISKMogul

    As wonderful as the improvement of our own understanding and technology are, technology can be susceptible to the whims of humanity. It can be used as both a boon and a negative. The reality of our culture is that those in power typically get to decide how advancements in technology get used. The only other alternative is collective effort and ownership of technology. But this also means that any tech can be used to exploit others in our economic system. In simple terms, the shortened work week that technology should be allowing for humanity is being held off in favor of continuing our cycle of productions and consumption.

  16. Coolbutlame

    No thanks. Advertising is way too saturated now a days, and it would be way too stressful opting into something like that. Field testing something like that, however, would be a lot of fun. Advertising is a strange market in that it is a lot of fun for those behind the scenes, but borderline begrudging to those subjected to it. I do like interactive advertising though, so we’ll see how it goes.

  17. The Saturn Embassy

    Like much of our technological advances these days, this one would be better suited for something other than advertising purposes. They want to advance this technology to make money. why not advance it in order to better our species? Make our lives more worth living? As it stands now, we live to work to pay our bills and maybe, just maybe, have enough left to be able to play during our golden years.

    Why can’t the technology we create be used to help us out this mundane existence that is centered around money? Make us more spiritually aware of the world in which we live? Use the advances so we can have ore peace on earth and less war? Use the advances so we can better interconnect the peoples of the world so all of the countries and cultures share a more common goal?

    Just a few thoughts I’ve been meaning to let loose and this was a fitting topic.

    1. oportosanto

      Funny that you mention advertising because that was exactly the first thing that crossed my mind too.

      For me it’s just a way to analyze us further, the question I do ask it, with what goal?

      1. anorexorcist

        Probably merchandise. You have no idea of how much ads can influence the way that we perceive something, it has to do a lot with first impressions, I think. And companies spend a lot of money on them because of the same reason.
        But I also can see this tool as a way to understand us a little bit better and get to know some ways that people have to perceive, or at least physically.

  18. misskrystal1982

    Really, I understand the thoughts on this and why they are doing it but I just don’t think it will work the way they think. Some people read slower than others. Does that mean that the person who is a slower reader (hence they look at the ad longer) are getting more from the ad than those who can glance at it and know what it says? I really think that isn’t going to be helpful. Some are more observant than others and they don’t need to stare at something in order to actually “see” it.
    I for one, am extremely observant. I notice things my husband does not, but I may not even look directly at it. I think they should worry more about finding cures for diseases or how to protect the environment. This is just a waste of time in my opinion.

  19. SirJoe

    It might still be in it’s infancy but it has shown some interesting results. I read an article were they tracked the eye movement of professional photographers and compared it to some one that would take photos occasionally and to a photography student. The professional looked at the whole picture and a large amount of eye movement while the lay photographer only focused on a handful of points the photography student fell in between the two.

  20. Sparkster

    This kind of technology could also potentially be used to “mind-read”. Not literally, but it could be programmed to detect and use the principle of eye-accessing cues from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming – a bit like Natural Language Processing, also NLP, for computers except this type of NLP is for humans). As someone mentioned above, your eyes can give your thoughts away and that is indeed true. By detecting eye-accessing cues, it’s possible to tell whether a person is consciously remembering an event, whether they’re constructing it in their mind, whether they have any emotions related to it, etc by reading their eye-accessing cues. Combine that with the ability to read body language and you have “psychic” technology which could, potentially, be extremely effective.

  21. oportosanto

    Eye tracking technology is something fascinating, but scary at the same time. More, I think that eye tracking will not offer us any advantage, but for companies it’s a powerful tool to conceive advertising better for example and to know what works or not in that area.

  22. rz3300

    Well I am pretty sure that we have started to see the beginnings of this one. I think that there are surveys and things like that out there that use the camera to track your eye movement, which is pretty amazing when you really think about it. It probably is very useful for research purposes as well, but you have to find people who can get over the fact that they are being watched. Thanks for sharing.

  23. anorexorcist

    I think that if they are going to use this as a way to see how we perceive things, then these people have a lot of work to do! There are millions of people on this world and the way that we see things it’s completely relative and diverse! I mean, they can be able to get how frecuent is this or that way to perceive something, but still, we can’t really generalize people when it comes to perception. I think that it would be the same thing if we try to generalize them when it comes to experiences… Almost impossible.

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