Movie theater technology is getting a novel tweak–it’ll start watching audiences to see how they react to movies and ads. The silver screen is set to watch you back, and it’s all in the cause of market research.
Some theaters have already been watching you for years, but only to make sure you’re not recording the show. Cameras embedded in the screen can detect the tell-tale infra-red signature of a digital camera. But that was just the first step. Aralia Systems, a U.K. high-tech security firm, just earned nearly $350,000 in a grant from the University of the West of England to turn those cameras into a system for gauging audience reaction to films and advertising.
We’re not talking about a dumb clapometer-style system, either. The intention is to produce rich data that can measure the details of an individual’s face. Aralia will leverage 3-D face recognition technology that the university is already developing. When you sit in the audience of a theater with their system, you’ll be illuminated with an infra-red beam, and three or more cameras will continually monitor the crowd to create stereoscopic images–just like the 3-D digital cameras that are now launching on the consumer markets.
This is right out of 1984