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EyeBox counts eyes in public

Nilay Patel

Not content just tracking you when you're surfing the web, Google announced plans today to count eyeballs in physical spaces. Big G is partnering with a company called Xuuk to distribute the EyeBox, a palm-sized camera that can record how many times viewers look at billboards or products in brick-and-mortar stores. The $1000 camera isn't the world's most high-tech gadget -- it simply shines a beam of IR light and counts how many times it sees redeye in the ensuing images, indicating that the subject was looking right at the camera -- but it's a big upgrade over previous systems, which cost over $25,000 and required subjects to remain perfectly still. Xuuk says the EyeBox works up to 32 feet away and doesn't require any sort of calibration, and that it collects no data other than how many times people have looked at a particular object. The simplicity of the system, however, means that each billboard or product requires its own separate Eyebox for tracking. While we're not sure advertisers are going crazy to drop a cool grand per billboard, we're certainly not going to underestimate their love of counting eyeballs, or Google's ability to turn viewing statistics into cold, hard cash. We're also curious to hear if the camera can see through sunglasses -- cause we're about to start wearing ours 24/7.

Update: We've received word that the EETimes article we linked was in error -- Google has nothing to do with the EyeBox. The camera is the sole product of Xuuk, Inc. Sorry for any confusion.

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