Cameras placed in mannequins to track shoppers
NEW YORK (NBC) -- Ever get that feeling you are being watched in a department store?
And then you are relieved when you realize it's only a mannequin.
Now that mannequin might be spying on you too.
There’s always been something a little unnerving about mannequins, the poses not exactly natural, the bodies not entirely normal and those vacant unblinking stares, one Italian mannequin company thought it’s time for an upgrade, something a little more human.
“We came up with this idea to combine technology with the mannequin. What we call the Eye-See mannequin we make sure to put it in one of two eyes,” said CEO, Max Cantanese.
This mannequin can actually see shoppers with a camera placed right behind one of its eyes.
“The blue square tells us it’s a male,” said Cantanese.
The technology relies on facial recognition software, unlike security cameras which are up high, these cameras are eye level they can log gender race and age before a shopper even realizes it.
Good for security but even more important for understanding behavior.
The Eye-See tracks what people buy how long they linger if they’ve even been in the store before
“Some of our clients are retailer, high fashion, the luxury brands - they need to know who’s their client,” said
So far only a few dozen have been sold in Europe and the United States but the orders keep coming in.
Even though there is some skepticism on the street.
“I think it’s creepy, I don't like that idea at all it just seems a little like big brother,” said one shopper.
“It’s weird, it’s sick especially if I was shopping in the underwear section,” said another shopper.
One high end retailer in Manhattan said it won't use the Eye-See, worried it might be an invasion of privacy
In this economy the last thing stores want to do is scare people away.
“If you are doing things the customer might not like, then you've crossed the line,” said a store manager.
Maybe if the mannequins were even a little more human
“Yeah I think that's a great idea if you need something you can ask them where it is,” said one shopper.
Or course there are actual real people already hired to do that.