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Culture

Eyebox is watching you watching it

The Eyebox camera lets advertisers know just how many people are looking at their billboards.

Engadget

[Update: It seems that Google is, in fact, not developing the Eyebox, and it's all Xuuk's project. The relation to Google seems to have been a misunderstanding about the similarities between Eyebox's tracking technology and Google's completely separate PageRank technology. We're sorry for the misunderstanding.]

The next time to you look at an advertisement, it might be looking back at you, thanks to a new product from a company called Xuuk. According to Engadget, the strangely-named company is developing the Eyebox, a $1,000 camera that can track people looking at it. The palm-sized device uses an infrared light to determine what passers-by are looking at it. It can be mounted on billboards are in stores to see just how many people are looking at the latest movie poster or the weekend clearance sale.

Eyebox isn't the first eyeball-tracking product, but it's one of the smallest and cheapest. Older systems can cost as much as $25,000 and are much more finicky to work with. $1,000 is still a lot of money to count eyes, but probably plenty of advertisers and stores will think it's worth the price.

Of all the futuristic movies out there, Minority Report might turn out to be one of the most prophetic. The Eyebox can't identify individuals people with retinal scans such as the eye-tracking cameras in that movie, but it's certainly coming close. Big Brother is watching you, and he has dozens of money-saving coupons.