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SceneTap Patents Using Cameras To Determine Bar Goers' Weight, Height, Gender

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the nothing-sinister-here dept.

Patents 76

nonprofiteer writes with news on what SceneTap has been up to for the last few months since. From the article: "SceneTap uses facial recognition technology to help bar-hoppers decide which night spot to go to based on how crowded a bar is and what the age and gender ratio is. ... Despite the fact that what the app does now is fairly innocuous. But what the app could do in the future, as described in a patent application filed in June, is pretty creepy. The patent application describes much more detailed data collection, including bar goers' race, height, weight, attractiveness, hair color, clothing type, and the presence of facial hair or glasses, and includes other possibilities usually left to the realm of dystopic fiction, including putting microphones in the cameras that could detect what customers are saying, and using facial recognition technology to identify customers and then get information about them from social networking websites and databases to determine 'relationship status, intelligence, education and income for the entire venue.'"

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76 comments

At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464691)

Whelp, time to bust out my narwhal outfit, platform shoes and monocle every time I hit the bars.

Great ice breakers at least.

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464765)

Yes, that will keep you anonymous for sure.

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41471159)

Privacy and anonymity are not the same thing.

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464781)

I am going to smear feces all over my face so the cameras will think that I'm an African named Zambobo, packin' a footlong penis.

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464949)

Whelp, time to bust out my narwhal outfit, platform shoes and monocle every time I hit the bars. Great ice breakers at least.

Why is this Slashdot's answer to everything? [slashdot.org]

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465173)

Whelp, time to bust out my narwhal outfit, platform shoes and monocle every time I hit the bars.

Great ice breakers at least.

Why is this Slashdot's answer to everything? [slashdot.org]

More importantly, why is it not everyone's answer to everything? Hipster Retro Narwhal Bar sounds like a paradise to me.

Re:At All Costs I MUST Defend My Privacy! (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465513)

At all costs I must defend *my* privacy. Whelp, time to throw out my narwhal outfit, platform shoes and monocle before I hit the bars.

And so it beings. (4, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464735)

Are they going to place the cameras and microphones behind their other patent, the "telescreen"? While we are at it, let's call this company the "Ministry of Love".

Rick's Cabaret and other strip bars will love this (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464739)

share all your tipping the strippers to your facebook account. or better yet the strippers will scan the patrons in a back room and then work the ones which the system predicts will tip the mos

The future of strip clubs (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465145)

Dancer with embedded NFC chips for tipping...

Or possibly bluetooth, if you aren't too picky about pairing with a stripper.

Re:The future of strip clubs (3, Funny)

jason.sweet (1272826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465627)

Or possibly bluetooth, if you aren't too picky about pairing with a stripper.

Sounds like a good way to catch some kind of virus.

Microphones.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464769)

And when they do that watch the lawsuits roll! There is a reason no public camera have microphones on them....

Re:Microphones.... (1)

jdray (645332) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464903)

If there's a sign on the door saying ("advertising") that the bar uses this "service" ("Hey! Check out our scene before you come down! See how happenin' we are!"), it could be argued as implicit (read: clickthrough) agreement to have yourself monitored at all times. Watch for microphones in the restrooms, which will spy on people's "out of sight" conversations to determine if they really like who they're with.

Not patentable (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464783)

I don't think this is patentable. The patent basically says where they would put cameras in the venue to record various things. That's what cameras do: they record stuff. Allowing a patent on that would be silly. To try and make it patentable, the patent states the specific camera positions such as "located about one foot (30.5 centimeters) away from the entranceway or (ii) located from about eight feet (2.4 meters) to about fifteen feet (4.6 meters) above the floor. "

So if that patent is awarded, could someone patenting putting cameras in *insert place here* to record *recordable event here*? Could I patent putting putting a camera on my car to record accidents and license plates? Perhaps I just need to say "about one foot in front of the windshield" to make it patentable? Could I patent putting a recording device in my pocket to record conversations? Perhaps I will say "about 6 inches deep in my pocket" or "in either a shirt pocket or a pants pocket" to make it *seem* more patent-worthy without actually saying anything.

Somehow, I don't even think the rubber-stamping patent office will let this one pass.

Re:Not patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464873)

I modded, but was hoping for the "Optimistic" mod option.

Re:Not patentable (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465005)

of course they will let it pass, you just need to make up a fancy name for your company.

Re:Not patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465835)

Besides, that idea is not new:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/02/03/24/1535205/cat-recognition-algorithms

Captcha: trapped

Re:Not patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41476481)

I am sure there is an optimal place to place a dash cam in or on an car. What that optimal place is, and whether that algorithm should be patentable, is another question entirely.

good idea (0)

Orgasmatron (8103) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464795)

I'd pay for an app that tells me the average weight of the chicks at a bar before I go there. Even better, the simple quantity of non-fat girls.

Re:good idea (2)

localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464831)

Why? You'd rather strike out with a skinny chick than a chubby one? With a name like that, I'm thinking you're over-compensating. Dig your User Number, though...

Re:good idea (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464901)

You're misreading it. She's the Matron of Orgas [wikipedia.org].

Re:good idea (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466821)

Why? You'd rather strike out with a skinny chick than a chubby one?

Hmm..if you're going in with any idea of "striking out", then you are going in with one thing that WILL make you strike out.....lack of confidence.

That one trait alone, if projected correctly, will get you VERY far with women.

But I can see his point in the OP....you don't want to waste your time, effort or $$ trying to pick up women in a place with fat chicks, unless you are a chubby chaser. You might as well try to hit the most target rich bar/location you can to start with.

Hell, if it is a GOOD place...try for multiples, get a blow job from one chick....come back in, try to leave with a different one to get laid that night at her place....etc.

Re:good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41471135)

LOL STFU you PUA faggot

Re:good idea (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465109)

The thing is, they can use the same technology. So as soon as you show up, the "middle aged neckbeard" warning fires, and all the women start going somewhere else.

Re:good idea (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465165)

They have not patented the idea of weight sensors in all the chairs at the bar so you might yet get your wish.

Pro-social reasoning? (1)

anakin876 (612770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464837)

If they patent this, but never use it, could they use their patent to keep others from inventing and patenting the "microphone add-on?" Wouldn't a broad patent give them a legal way to keep others from making creative and invasive additions?

fun versus legal (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464849)

This kind of stuff is not so bad as long as it is just entertainment. The software mismatches a attribute and nothing is lost. There is no reason to think that there is any real accuracy in the software, the patent is simply there to make sure if someone else does this they can sue. I would not think that a piece of free software would even have the funding to accurately do what it does. Certainly it is easy enough to lie when entering data.

The problem occurs when some ignorant people start believing that the myths. I saw this happen once on a work thing I was forced to attend. A quack presenter was telling us all these ways we could judge people just by looking at them. if the person played with their change they were cheap, if they looked up they were dishonest, and on and on. Now I will admit that these things may be true in many if not most cases, but to build a profile of a person assuming they are true all the time. That is ludicrous, especially as this information was presented to professionals who would then make judgements on people that would effect their future.

Re:fun versus legal (1)

Linkreincarnate (840046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466671)

None of that stuff works for left handed people either People that say that left handed brains are just the reverse of right handed brains are wrong. That is only the case when the left handed person has their entire body reversed (internal organs and all). Most left handed people dont store things in as compartmentalized manner as right handed people.

Better app: TapMeNot (1)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464851)

TapMeNot uses database technology to tell you where SceneTap has placed its cameras to help bar-hoppers decide which night spot not to go to.

Re:Better app: TapMeNot (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465041)

I'm sure SceneTap will start selling a similar service to "mask", a user, and tell them where the best bar to go is to *not* get hit on. Just like the telephone company publishes a directory, and charges people to *not* be listed.

Yet another reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464859)

...NOT to go to a bar.

more useful would be.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41464881)

Only guys care ht, wt, s. What women care is car. They should photograph car with lic # and use database to find out house price, where he works, how much he makes, is he married, divorcee, single, how many kids, criminal records etc.

Re:more useful would be.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465171)

The funny thing is that a motorhome which is on a Sprinter [1] chassis isn't exactly a chick magnet. However, when people see it was sold new as a $110,000 Mercedes, the single's sites fill up with requests for dates.

[1]: Sprinter is this hodgepodge of Dodge, Freightliner, and Mercedes. Trying to get these things serviced is a PITA, because the M-B guys will say they only service cars. FL only will service big rigs, Dodge washed their hands of the matter. I'm hoping Ford gets their Transit van onto US shores soon, so I don't have to shell out $3000 if the DPF gets plugged.

Pheromones (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464889)

Make an app that can tell me what pheromones are floating around. Using predictive technology that knows how hot the user is how hot the appropriate sex at the bar is, and how hot the competition is, the app could determine, to great precision, how likely you are to get laid.

B.t.w. There really was a 50's science fiction short story about an inventor that made just such a device, although you had to carry it into the bar, it wasn't remote. (Don't remember the name or the collection)

Filing date (2)

dtmos (447842) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464893)

The application was not "filed in June." The application was published in June. From TFPA (after all, the link is to a patent application, not an article):

PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/422,895, filed Dec. 14, 2010, entitled "Method of Monitoring or Tracking Customer Demographics and Volume in a Venue or Similar Facility", the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference and relied upon.

The provisional patent application was made on 14 December 2010. The full utility patent application was made on 13 December 2011 (also from TFPA). The reason the application was published in June 2012 is that the utility application claims the priority date of the provisional application, and June was eighteen months after that date.

2 pints please (4, Interesting)

knarf (34928) | about a year and a half ago | (#41464907)

Coming soon to a venue close to you:

Two pints please

Here you go, that will be 10,-

10,-? The previous two were 8,-, surely you made a mistake?

Nay, the total income for this joint just went through the roof, must be that bunch of leeches in suits who came in a few minutes ago. Prices are set according to some fancy profit-maximizing model, and that model told my cash register to charge more. Sorry 'bout that...

Re:2 pints please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465091)

There is already a stock market themed bar that adjusts prices of different drinks based on demand. $1 PITCHERS OF PBR!

Re:2 pints please (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465429)

Then you are out a dollar and stuck with a pitcher of PBR. What if I wanted a beer?

Re:2 pints please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465517)

At The Tipsy Crow in San Diego, prices for beer are market-driven. They call "The Drink Exchange." http://thetipsycrow.com/p-3338-the-drink-exchange.html

Re:2 pints please (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466335)

Actually, there are already bars like that in existence. The prices for each drink are set based on current demand. If everybody is ordering PBR and no one is buying Chimay, the price of PBR will go up and the price of Chimay will go down. Once everyone starts buying up the cheap Chimay, then the price goes back up again. I have never been to one of these places but seen them featured on TV. Check out Exchange Bar and Grill [exchangebarandgrill.com] in NYC.

Re:2 pints please (1)

bjdevil66 (583941) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466439)

Why would they stop at that point? Pricing per individual would be the best optimization, based on how good their credit history, bank account balances, etc.).

An automated system like this would be able to drive away "less than beautiful" customers. Cheaper alcohol for beautiful people, while pricing out the less-than-rich uglies (who cares if they're ugly if they can buy $20 beers?) The automatic pricing becomes the, "You don't meet our dress code," bouncer at the door. People would figure this out and many would actually WANT to go to places like that because of their reputation for rewarding beautiful people, feeding its well-to-do clientele's own vanity. A cheap beer would be a badge of honor.

It's pure genius if they can get the tech to work and market it right.

Re:2 pints please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41467059)

At least you can get easily hammered on nights when the model fails!

Call it "Model Failed Tuesdays" or something. The actuaries will know what Im talking about.

And BTW, fuck the actuaries.

Re:2 pints please (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41470915)

That's OK. I am going to spend the same amount of money anyway... It just leave less for the tip.

I pay for drinks in bars with cash, 1-2 dollars per drink as a tip, with a bigger tip at the beginning of the night to make sure that when its busy I get my order taken before the schlubs. If the price goes up at random, I will just pay the same amount I did before. It is the server who suffers... and then the management who have unhappy servers... and then the owners who cant keep their places staffed. Go for it.

Bars are pretty creepy to begin with ... (0)

js33 (1077193) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465021)

... but this is just disgusting, and the same technology will be used (for marketing purposes) in stores and restaurants and all kinds of other public places. Thieves, stalkers, and predators as well as advertisers will gain access to this data. And pretty soon, you may as well have one of those ankle monitors on, because the police will inevitably want to know where you are and what you do at all times.

One too many (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465185)

Thieves, stalkers, and predators as well as advertisers...

But you repeat yourself.

Re:One too many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465841)

No, he is offending the thieves, stalkers, and predators.

People take going to a bar way too seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465135)

It's a bar, there will be booze, some girls and some guys. Make the most of it.

Re:People take going to a bar way too seriously (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465471)

It depends on what sort of crowd the bar caters to: Some bars will be almost exclusively girls or guys.

Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465155)

Most bars and dance clubs are total sausage festivals, no sane business owner wants customers to know this prior to arrival. SceneTap is a novelty now but don't expect it to catch on.

Expect the unexpected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465219)

Such as masses of hot women directed to hard-core gay bars, to help "correct the gender balance", or something.

happy to be an anti-social troglodyte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41465367)

never understood the appeal of bars, loud, (used to be) smokey, crowded, expensive

you could get the same experience at home free by locking yourself in a coat closet with boombox that has no volume control that is set to play music you don't like

also you would have to buy name brand liquor, pour it out, and fill the bottles with bottom shelf liquor, and whenever you want a drink you would have to make yourself wait 10 minutes

yeah I don't like bars

Re:happy to be an anti-social troglodyte (1)

hazah (807503) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466251)

Not everyone finds them as distastful as you do. Live and let live.

I cant wait... (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465501)

... for the first time facial recognition software incorrectly identifies an ordinary schlub as a major celebrity and sends crazed fans/paparazzi to a small neighborhood joint.

... for the first Halloween after it goes live. ("60% of patrons at PDQ are undead. 10% are current or past presidents of the United States, etc.")

... for the first time the SceneTap data is subpoenaed in a fire death investigation to demonstrate that the bar was overcrowded and the owner knew it.

... for the first National Security Letter sent to SceneTap. Actually, we'll never know when that happens (happened).

A simple bar recipe for success (5, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465929)

A successful female bar owner told me this a while back:

"Just make your bar a place that women like to come to. If there are women there, men will follow."

That old rule trumps any high tech.

Re:A simple bar recipe for success (1)

hazah (807503) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466269)

Can't mod, but would love to. Should be 'Informative'.

Bars already collect and sell your data (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41465965)

How many bars have you been to where you have to provide your Driver's License for them to swipe through a reader for entry? (This is more common at clubs on Fridays and Saturday, and more so if you're in the college-age crowd hangouts) If so, you've already provided a lot of information about yourself and your time and frequency of visiting which the bars SELL.

The New York times wrote about it back in 2002 http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20020321thursday.html [nytimes.com]

and multiple companies advertise hardware to do this: IdentiBar Drivers License Scanning solutions for Nightclubs and Bars [identibar.com].

Some liquor stores and grocery stores also scan when you're purchasing alcohol. While it's supposed to be illegal, at least in Illinois to use this to acquire and retain address information (cite according to Illinois legal aid [illinoislegalaid.org], companies sell marketing solutions where they explicitly claim that they can and will retain and market this data.

Have you ever seen someone obviously well over drinking age also getting scanned ahead of you and they say it is only just policy. That's probably the clear sign that they're collecting data to sell it, rather than just to check age on possible underage drinkers.

It's enough to make you paranoid. :>)

gender? (2)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about a year and a half ago | (#41466793)

That is one advanced system if it can detect gender. I would have been happy if it could just identify the sex of each person. Gender identity is complicated stuff for humans. ~

Re:gender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41487271)

That is one advanced system if it can detect gender. I would have been happy if it could just identify the sex of each person.

Being transgender, I would rather not have it identify sex. Or really anything at all.

My New Patent (1)

Mr. Ghost (674666) | about a year and a half ago | (#41467495)

I think it is finally time for me to finally get the ultimate patent:

A process by which I can garner information, steps for process:

1) Gather inputs

2) Lookup data

3) Present results.

I believe that their is definitely no prior art for this patent and I can see multiple potential uses for it in the future.

No Fatties (2)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#41467893)

I embrace this technology. If they offer an API, it would be easy to write a NoFatties iPhone app. To really capture the market I would also write a ChubbyChaser app.

Re:No Fatties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41472367)

Mod parent down. He's a douchebag.

Gaming the system. (1)

Jaywalk (94910) | about a year and a half ago | (#41468107)

Before getting excited about any new system, the first question would be, how hard is this to hack? All a bar owner would need to do is have a few pretty girls come in the front door and out the back and the system will start saying that the bar has more women in it than it does. And let the fat ugly fat guys come in the back as well.

Sliding scale for information, too? (1)

eudaemon (320983) | about a year and a half ago | (#41468331)

You guys are talking about a sliding scale for the booze, but you're missing the biggest opportunity here which is for people to pay for score inflation. And of course for other people to pay even more for transparency through the score inflation scheme. Bronze level is free and you get what you get. Silver level you get to shave 5 years and add a market adjusted 1 sigma to your income. Gold level is ten years and 2 sigmas, etc. Of course Gold level "peeper" subscriptions get to see the truth about all Silver level data hiders, and so on. Freeking goldmine. I'm calling the patent office, brb.

Re:Sliding scale for information, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41469607)

Silver level you get to shave 5 years and add a market adjusted 1 sigma to your income. Gold level is ten years and 2 sigmas, etc.

I got a diamond subscription...

"Underage billionaire just checked in."

I was recently in Nick's Bar in NYC (1)

Archfeld (6757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41471007)

They were filming for an episode of Bar Rescue. The owner had authorized the production company to place cameras and mic's everywhere to track the employees, which incidently tracked every patron in the bar as well. When I pointed out that I felt it was an invasion of my privacy the manager told me I was paranoid, while that may be... my four friends and I made sort of a scene and numerous other patrons became involved. The bottom line was about 9 people got up and went across the street to another bar to finish up the evening. I have not nor will I ever go back to Nick's. I doubt we'll affect the bottom line but I also doubt that was the effect the owner was hoping for.

Delete gay behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41481417)

They should use the algorithm to detect gay people in television shows and either delete them from the show, or better yet, modify their voices, faces and body language so that they're not acting gay any more. Unless of course, you really believe that they were born with those abnormal voices.

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