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Gadget Tracks Brainwaves As You Watch TV

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-your-thoughts-are-belong-to-us dept.

Television 49

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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Brain Activity (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869290)

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.

Re:Brain Activity (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869378)

*blip* We have signs of life!!

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

Re:Brain Activity (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870644)

Drool cup marketing will soar!

Re:Brain Activity (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870778)

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!

Re:Brain Activity (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871082)

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."

Re:Brain Activity (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871738)

This sounds suspiciously like the plot of Batman Forever.

Re:Brain Activity (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871784)

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 they want to hear... without all that burdensome thinking and possible cognitive dissonance.

Eh. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869302)

I've often had ideas involving marketing people and strategically placed electrodes; but this wasn't quite what I had in mind. Pity.

Re:Eh. (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35873276)

This should make Aliens' lives easier since we know where marketing people invariably put their heads.

That was disappointing... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:That was disappointing... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870812)

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.

Re:That was disappointing... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871128)

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.

Re:That was disappointing... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872934)

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...

Non Invasive? (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869480)

"the first ever scalable, non-invasive psychological and brainwave measurement technology

The concept is invasive. The ultimate in propaganda. We now control your kids so thoroughly, that unless you invest a minimum $1000 a month on our toys, candy and fast food, we will have them murder you in your sleep.

You have been warned.

Re:Non Invasive? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870148)

Non-invasive refers to the fact that the electrodes are not implanted in the brain. After all, Citizen, removing your Cap is counterrevolutionary.

Re:Non Invasive? (1)

blargster (239820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870214)

I view this as doubleplusungood.

Re:Non Invasive? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870846)

Have the Tripods arrived already?

No-brainer (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869482)

Might as well draw a flat line reminiscent of a comatose vegetable...

Maxi-pads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35869496)

I would love to never see another feminine hygiene commercial again.

You got it wrong (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869544)

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.

Re:You got it wrong (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869752)

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.

Re:You got it wrong (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870836)

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.

Gooooooogle (1)

kid tested (1676806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35869928)

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

Re:Gooooooogle (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871142)

One could argue that with regards to this article, the Googles do nothing.

Pr0n? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870032)

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".

Tin Foil Hat Jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35870054)

I miss tin foil hat jokes.

Re:Tin Foil Hat Jokes (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870682)

The marketing department has found tin foil hat jokes to cause mostly negative emotions. However we are currently developing a new gold foil hat joke product line.

Idiocracy coming sooner than you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35870112)

Mike Judge drastically overestimated the "singularity" moment of Idiocracy for the 26th century.
With devices like this, I give it about 20 years from now.

Nothing is that sensitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35870182)

Because they virtually diminish altogether, I call bullshit. Essentially, there are no brainwaves when watching the telly.

At least its not sold to editors (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870236)

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 to hook up their ideal target audience. Creating all kinds of interesting ethical concerns, as they will be taking advantage of lower functioning people.

It may even make it into marketing, COPS TV (is that still on?) might be edited based on the measured emotional response of test audience cops this week vs criminals next week. That's novel enough that I might even watch TV again.

Re:At least its not sold to editors (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870754)

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

Re:At least its not sold to editors (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871226)

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

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

Re:At least its not sold to editors (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35874238)

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

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

The "Kinect" device for EEG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35870668)

I'm quite excited about this... Especially if this hardware is as cheap as it looks or good be when mass-manufactured. Think of the applications (kinect-style), you could use this device to accelerate your meditation training or hypnosis practice. It might also be a good startingpoint for EEG-monitoring in veterinary surgery.

Toys (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35870830)

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.

Recording/Reading EEG is not easy.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35871088)

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 peice of brain ;)

Re:Recording/Reading EEG is not easy.. (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872094)

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.

Re:Recording/Reading EEG is not easy.. (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35873362)

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.

Disappointed (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871356)

It should like like a giant green blender that sits on top of your TV.

Child care (1)

frankgod (218789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35871572)

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.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35871826)

TV Watches You!

Psychological Profiling (1)

Radtastic (671622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872016)

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.

Re:Psychological Profiling (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872528)

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 incite agreement, whether logical or emotional or subconscious through semiotics and suggestive imagery.

2. Doesn't this thing come with a "skip" button?

Re:Psychological Profiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877280)

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.

1984 ?

Ugh. (2)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872500)

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.

Re:Ugh. (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35872520)

On another note, no one has anything to be afraid of because this technology sucks.

Re:Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876342)

Do you really think that they don't know and that they actually care? They just need to sell enough units with their BS hype to make a small fortune and they're happy as pigs in shit.

Or lack thereof. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35872806)

404, brainwaves not found.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35874112)

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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