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A Brave New World: What's Your Visual Pleasure?

Published: August 23, 2013

Author: Michael Yates

Recently, Google’s patent for a gaze-tracking system was loaded onto the US Patent Office’s website; it  detailed potential uses of such a gaze tracking system as integrated with image recognition software, emotional inference, and audible interaction with a user.
The patent does not specifically state Glass as the vehicle for such a system, but you can imagine that we will be getting a Glass+ in the future that will come bundled with such a feature set. A new product won’t have to stick to the current advertising ban on Glass Apps, nor will it be left outside of a marketer’s warm embrace.
Naturally, upon learning of such a patent, I began a brainstorm of various uses of gaze tracking, emotional state guessing, and engagement audio.
When I hear about supposing the emotional state of a user I think back to the fundamentals of advertisement, ones that try to reach a market segment with interest and connection. Generally, this is best exhibited through fashion, automotive, and other image conscious products — items that we both wrap ourselves in as personal expression.
I appreciate a good suit and a leather shift knob as much as the next person, in part from the connection that I’ve developed to those experiences. It would be hard to resist an item that catches my natural gaze with an audible cue in my ear after recognizing my gaze towards the color and thread count of a three-piece. Not only have my sight and touch been engaged but my head-unit has notified me that this particular piece is advertising a matching pair of shoes to give myself an extra “edge in the boardroom”. If I’ve been recognized as wavering in confidence, stressed, or in need of an impulse pick me up, that suit just spoke to me on multiple levels.  Purchase made.
Zooming out from a moment to moment purchase decision, with the required scrubbing of personal data from the all head units in the wild, marketers will gain access to the various gaze-habits of important segments who have self-identified through various ways. A dark joke I made internally was that those suffering from a state of mania due to being diagnosed as bipolar were most likely to be the highest cost-per-gaze market for off-the-rack purchases.  Alternatively, it would be possible to infer someone’s favorite color and what that color means to people at various times in their life.
Pearl and Dandelion wedding decorations, a black luxury car, vibrant colors on a complementary plate of food; it feels like the possibilities are endless. Pairing the physiological, psychological, and sociological efforts of public and private industry could result in head unit users being granted their whims based entirely on a gaze and a bit of pupil dilation.

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