Kinect-based mood analysis could bolster Microsoft’s advertising efforts

kinect based mood analysis could bolster microsofts advertising efforts

Though touted as the future of gaming interactivity, in the most basic sense Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral is just a camera. It captures images, uses complex mathematics to derive motion-capture information based on what it sees, and then uses that information to create some kind of useful feedback based on whatever software you happen to be using.

Now, according to a recent patent application, that camera could be utilized to capture your reaction to advertisements, thus offering Microsoft and its partners a more direct way to target useful ads to users.

Specifically, the patent claims that the technology would be “a computer-implemented method to determine emotional states of users that receive advertisements on client devices, the method comprising: monitoring a user’s online activity during a time period; processing the online activity to identify a tone associated with content that the user interacted with during the time period; receiving an indication of the user’s reaction to the content; and assigning an emotional state to the user based on the tone of the content and the indication of the user’s reaction to the content.”

If that’s a bit too dry for you, imagine that you’re watching an advertisement on your Xbox 360. You sneer as the bubbly spokesmodel gushes over the brilliance of the dubiously useful product, and this small change in facial composition is immediately picked up for analysis by the Kinect sitting atop your television. The Kinect’s software then analyzes this gesture of displeasure both to ensure that in the future you are not shown this same ad (nor ads deemed suitably similar), and to let the creators of the ad know that it had little effect on the likelihood that you might purchase whatever product the spot was promoting.

In effect, your ad experience will be adjusted based on your mood and tastes.

As New Scientist points out, Microsoft has made claims in the past that it could use similar technology to tailor gaming experiences to personal tastes, but to date we have yet to see anything like that in the consumer space. Instead the Kinect peripheral has largely been a motion-capture camera that merely translates gestures into on-screen actions. Given the amount of money to be made by this new idea however, it seems quite likely that Microsoft would rush to implement Kinect-enabled mood recognition in its advertising plans as soon as possible, if only to gauge consumer reaction to any plans the company might have in the future.

That said, this technology is sure to raise issues of invasiveness. Though it’s a far cry from Microsoft setting up a direct video feed of each of its users, this is essentially real-time monitoring, and it seems quite likely that a good portion of Xbox 360 users would be less than thrilled to have a giant corporation spying on them every time they fire up their gaming machine. Then again, given the ubiquity of online, socially-enabled gaming systems these days, this kind of mood-recognition is less a giant leap forward in consumer eavesdropping and more an expected part of our impending future.

Likewise, it adds additional credence to the idea that George Orwell’s books are frighteningly prophetic (as if we needed further reminders).


Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates have been a disaster despite safeguards

After a string of Windows 10 update issues, including severe data loss for a number of users, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows, Michael Fortin, has spoken out about quality control surrounding Windows development at…

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

The most common Xbox One X problems, and how to fix them

The Xbox One X is a brilliant console, but it's not without its issues, ranging from simple annoyances to severe hardware problems. Here are common Xbox One X problems and how to fix them.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.