Personalized advertisements. They happen all on time on the Web: When Google sees your cookies and noticed that you’ve visited particular websites, you will often see ads of that same site wherever there are Google ad placements. The idea is meant to tailor ads to your interests but the process is a tad invasive; Like if your mom showed up with a basket of warm brownies after she looked at your Google search history and saw you were hunting down dessert recipes. Now, Verizon wants to be your spying mom by introducing a new patent that aims to tailor television commercials based on what you’re physically doing.
The technology in itself actually sounds pretty cool. According to the patent, Verizon aims to install various detection sensors, such as a webcam or heat cam, to recognize “an ambient action performed by a user during the presentation of the media content program.” Based on the sensors’ analysis, the Verizon box will air relevant commercials to cater to whatever you’re doing. These actions can include the user talking or playing a game with another person, or interacting with their mobile devices. The tech is little creepy, but kind of neat. Of course, since we can’t have nice things, things gets a lot weirder.
Further down the patent, Verizon also states that these ambient actions will be key to showing targeted commercials best suited for whatever situation you’re currently engaged in. Here’s the example it provides: If the Verizon box detects the users “cuddling” then “a commercial for a romantic getaway vacation, a commercial for a contraceptive, a commercial for flowers, a commercial including a trailer for an upcoming romantic comedy movie, etc.” will pop up. Huh.
There are clearly a lot of problems in this scenario: Who would appreciate a romance buzzkill by being getting a reminder from your creeper cable box to wrap that junk with some Trojan Charged before getting your magic on? Even so, if Verizon box senses some sexy times through the camera sensors, wouldn’t an ad for contraception be just a little too late?
While the idea of motion sensor detection for advertising seems interesting, the practicality has way too many hilarious possibilities. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally start watching commercials after all and see how the Verizon box can match what I’m doing to random commercials. Let’s just pray it doesn’t air Plan B commercials while I’m cozying up on the couch with a body pillow.
[Image via George Allen Penton/Shutterstock]