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Gadget Tracks Brainwaves As You Watch TV 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-your-thoughts-are-belong-to-us dept.
Taking a cue from A Clockwork Orange, San Francisco neuromarketing firm EmSense has launched what it says is "the first ever scalable, non-invasive psychological and brainwave measurement technology — made specifically for market research." The EmBand measures your brain activity, your emotional responses, and your level of engagement in what you are watching on TV. The collected data is then sold to marketers who can come up with more interesting ads to be skipped over with your DVR.
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Gadget Tracks Brainwaves As You Watch TV

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  • Wow, a device that measures brain activity while watching the idiot box? Be prepared to record a whole lot of nothin', especially during American Idol.

    • *blip* We have signs of life!!

      Oh no, wait, sorry, cat just ran by the television and caught the peripheral vision of the subject...

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Drool cup marketing will soar!

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Wow, a device that measures brain activity while watching the idiot box? Be prepared to record a whole lot of nothin', especially during American Idol.

      If you can read a signal, you can inject a signal. Matrix, here we come!

    • You killed my joke in the womb you bastard! T_T Look at its little fetus-corpse! LOOK AT IT!

      "Holy shit dude, is the system up?"

      "Everything looks good, what's the problem?"

      "All the brainwaves just went flat, but the proximity sensors all indicate that they're being worn! Did all these people just die!?"

      "No, they all just changed from CSI to Jersey Shore."

    • by yincrash (854885)
      This sounds suspiciously like the plot of Batman Forever.
    • Damn, all this time I've been calling it "American Idle"... I guess that's from never watching the show. The other one with the truncated name (America's Got Talent [ but you won't be seeing it here ] is still alive as well. This tells me that the measuring device will not only take off (vote for your favorites with brain waves) but I think it could later be used to sculpt or spin news and political commentary. If they could have the feedback live in the control room people could literally hear exactly what
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @11:18AM (#35869302) Journal
    I've often had ideas involving marketing people and strategically placed electrodes; but this wasn't quite what I had in mind. Pity.
    • by 517714 (762276)
      This should make Aliens' lives easier since we know where marketing people invariably put their heads.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @11:24AM (#35869412)

    Was reading this with quite some interest. I wonder what they could do with this. User Adaptive systems which help choose films you might like based on the parts you enjoyed. Some way of choosing channels automatically based on your mood...

    "The collected data is then sold to marketers". End of fantasy.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Was reading this with quite some interest. I wonder what they could do with this. User Adaptive systems which help choose films you might like based on the parts you enjoyed. Some way of choosing channels automatically based on your mood...

      "The collected data is then sold to marketers". End of fantasy.

      Bottom line, all channels distill down to FAP.com.

      • Lost would be a lot more interesting. Just scenes with Kate over and over and over...the storyline would still make as much sense too.

    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      I wonder what they could do with this. User Adaptive systems which help choose films you might like based on the parts you enjoyed.

      Heh, and slowly your Netflix recommendations migrate over to pron...

  • Might as well draw a flat line reminiscent of a comatose vegetable...
  • The collected data is then sold to marketers who can come up with more interesting ads to be skipped over with your DVR.

    The data is then sold to marketers to come up with better ways to do product placement inside the shows.

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      The data is then sold to marketers to come up with better ways to do product placement inside the shows.

      I can save them a lot of money then. If you need to zoom in on a logo or shoehorn your brand name into the dialog you're doing it wrong.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      The collected data is then sold to marketers who can come up with more interesting ads to be skipped over with your DVR.

      The data is then sold to marketers to come up with better ways to do product placement inside the shows.

      Skew the system by plugging in a watermelon or your pet cat. FTFY.

  • Did anyone else read this headline as "Google Tracks Brainwaves As You Watch TV" and find it unsurprising? The Google is everywhere!

  • by vlm (69642)

    This might sell in the home.

    I'm thinking ... semi-adaptive real time multi-view pr0n.

    Three ... whatevers ... pan across the screen. The one that gave the ... highest response controls the chapter the DVD player skips to ...

    Or movie on demand instead of old fashioned physical media.

    Even non-pr0n apps could exist, like watching ads on the TV guide channel automatically selecting the 'best" one.

    The "DVD games" industry might go for this, a "truth or dare" game or "think your way thru the mystery".

  • Another "look at the bright side post"

    The collected data is then sold to marketers

    At least its not sold to editors / directors / etc. If it were, you'd literally have mathematically formulaic programs.

    One interesting problem might be finding test subjects... Everyone knows via tv tropes etc that the idea target market victim is a .... and before you had a device to plug them into, they had to just talk about it. Now they have a device to plug them into, so instead of talking about it, they're going to start raiding mental institutions etc in order

    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      One interesting problem might be finding test subjects...

      if they pay me and allow me to read a book and mute the TV - I volunteer

    • If it were, you'd literally have mathematically formulaic programs.

      I thought that's how TV shows were already made?

      • > thought that's how TV shows were already made?

        No. They're made from recipes. Math is too hard for producers.

  • by wjousts (1529427)
    These supposed cheap EEG monitors are basically toys, so don't worry yet. That a marketing company uses slick marketing to oversell the capabilities of their own product shouldn't surprise anybody.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It takes a lot of training to properly place EEG electrodes...and a whole lot more to read them. Most of what you see on an awake EEG is actually EMG artifact. Other than seeing normal awake rhythms (mu and posterior dominant rhythm)...there is not much info to gain. Even advanced EEG labs have trouble determining anything deeper than if the patient is relaxed, eyes open or closed..and sleep architecture. That is, unless, they are encephalopathic or have seizures/interictal epileptiform activity..or a bad p

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      All true, but not to worry, nothing (certainly not your inconvenient "facts") will stop the neuromarketing hype bandwagon. I'm sure the buzz will wear off in a few years.
    • by 517714 (762276)
      All the data needs to indicate is, "Hey we got another sucker to put on the band!", which reality show he is watching, and his address. Direct sales to weak-minded people is far more profitable than advertising dollars.
  • It should like like a giant green blender that sits on top of your TV.
  • Why aren't we using this for child care? You could get some feedback on your kid's response to different things. Or use it to make a robot nanny that can tell how a kid is feeling.
  • This is wrong, on so many levels:

    - Manipulative advertising at the very least
    - Complete psychological profiling at the worst (They'll be able to track more than ads - they'll know what type of male/female turns you on, what foods excite you, discover your fetishes, etc.)

    I'll pass. Unfortunately, someday I predict this technology will be built into the TV via a webcam able to detect visible reactions, subvocal communication, etc.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      1. All advertising is manipulative. Think about it. How many commercials do you watch with at least cursory interest, but not realize you would never buy the product or its competitors? I've been keeping a rough count and it's got to be over 95% for me. You're sucked in by the ad itself. If you are also in the market for the product, the entrainment remains until you are in the store, and tends to make you evaluate the product according to your agreement with the ad, which, of course, is designed to i

  • by RockoTDF (1042780) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:29PM (#35872500) Homepage
    Like most "brainwave" technology (ie game controllers) this is a bunch of horse shit designed by people who are clearly clueless on these matters. Electrodes are not well placed, individuals at home probably have no idea how to put it on right, the list goes on. Not to mention the lack of a system to account for eyeblinks. Head movement can screw things up, as can cell phone use. Seriously, if they took a day of psychophysiology they would know this. The fact that it was started by folks from MIT is an embarrassment to that institution.
  • I'm waiting to see when someone rigs up a TMS unit trying to find a spot in the brain to interfere with that renders the watcher more susceptible to suggestions in commercials.

    Hey, it's more plausible than a lot of this sort of neuro-babble.

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