Very perceptive mannequins

Wow. So… some mannequins spy on you.

In the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, BusinessWeek reported that “bionic mannequins are spying on shoppers to boost luxury sales” at five unnamed companies. The $5,130 EyeSee mannequins from Almax have cameras embedded in their eyes that use IBM Cognos software to record the number of shoppers checking out window displays and clothes, while also noting their age, gender and race. They don’t keep any images of the customers, just the aggregate data about who’s been considering blowing money on cashmere sweaters and $300 jeans. But it may not stop there.

“To give the EyeSee ears as well as eyes, Almax is testing technology that recognizes words to allow retailers to eavesdrop on what shoppers say about the mannequin’s attire,” reports BusinessWeek. This is the second time I’ve heard a business float the idea of recording customers’ conversation in order to better advertise to them. The desire for better marketing may just be the biggest threat out there to your privacy.

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