NHK shows off a TV that watches you

June 1, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog
NHK shows off a TV that watches you
Image: Techon

Most people are comfortable enough with the idea of watching TV, but how comfortable will they be with the idea of the TV watching them back?

The folks who attended Open House 2011, which ran between May 26th to the 29th, were able to see NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories demonstrate its new UTAN TV viewing interface. For those of you who are curious, UTAN stands for User Technology Assisted Navigation, and while you may at first think that description could easily be applied to a simple remote control, it is so much more.

The system begins with a camera mounted on your TV. That camera takes pictures of you while you are watching and with the help of some clever software gauges your level of interest. It does this by assessing your level of attention paid to the screen, based on your facial expression and motions.

NHK shows off a TV that watches you
Image: Techon

The system can then send this data out. Currently, the only place it is going is to a tablet PC that shows the interest level data. Since the system is capable of reading multiple viewers at the same time, the person with the pad would be able to see how interested everyone in the room is in the show.

There is only one problem, how the system makes the measurements, which is by a lack of change in expression. So, if the viewer has an emotional response to what is on the screen it will be seen as a lack of concentration on the show, which could be an incorrect assessment. Currently, the system is also incapable of judging the type of response it is getting, so a laugh and angry screams are all the same to this system. Though, the makers of the device say this level of monitoring is possible in the future.

Explore further: New Samsung remote control features TV screen

More information:
via Techon

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not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
A few privacy concerns here... a few.
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
Hold on to your hats gentlemen it seems we've hit a time warp back to 1984.

At least they aren't pushing the new micro lumo sensors that fit between your pixels, aka screen cam.
Or maybe they just integrated it without our knowledge, I mean who knows what the Chinese are putting in their products that we can't/won't detect.
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
It is good that ComCast and AT&T etc. will be able to watch you watching their programming.

They are your willing servants and do it to fine control what you see for the purpose of serving you better.

"Let me rule you and I will be your slave." - Jared
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011
Maybe it is because I only get a small taster in brief articles such as this, but these sorts of experiments often seem to discount 'real life'. You might be very interested in the broadcast, but are also having to keep one eye on a young child, checking a laptop or smart phone to see when to put in a last bid on eBay, popping to check on dinner etc. You may be viewing at a very oblique angle to the screen, or you may only be listening to the audio, say a television debate, because you don't really need to see the people speaking, doesn't mean you are disinterested in what they are saying.

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