Tesco to use eye-scanning tech to target ads at you

Eyeball-scanning tech will determine your age and gender, and fire what it thinks are suitable ads at you.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Tesco is to roll out Minority Report-style eyeball-scanning tech to target adverts at you. The supermarket giant will install screens that scan your eyes in its petrol stations. Then while you queue for the till, the screen will show adverts it hopes will appeal to you based on your age and gender.

The screens -- called OptimEyes -- are made by Lord Sugar's Amscreen company. They'll find their way into all 450 of Tesco's petrol stations, Amscreen said in a press release, and could be used by other British supermarkets too.

"Yes, it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible," Simon Sugar, son of Alan and CEO of Amscreen, told The Grocer.

I've asked Tesco and Amscreen when the screens will be installed, and which other supermarkets are in line to use them. I'll update this story if I hear back.

As well as choosing ads based on your age and gender, the screens take into account the time and date, too. So they could show ads for Red Bull and other energy drinks in the morning, then switch to women's magazines if they detect a queue of females. Expect seasonal promotions aplenty, as well as ad-funded branded spots for big events like the World Cup.

Sugar was keen to stress the screens wouldn't invade shoppers' privacy. "The OptimEyes doesn't store images or recognise people, but just works out gender and sorts customers into one of three age brackets," he told The Grocer.

Still, not sure I like the idea of Tesco reading my eyeballs. Window to the soul, and all that.

What do you think? Are you worried that tech is becoming too invasive? Those Wi-Fi bins were a bit much weren't they. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or form an orderly queue over at our Facebook page.