Tokyo Tests “Smart” Billboards That Scan Pedestrians

Posted on July 15, 2010

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New digital advertising billboards are being rolled out for testing on the streets of Tokyo, Japan. These “smart” billboards are fitted with cameras that scan passers-by and display relevant ads based on their gender and age group.

11 railway companies have already started using these billboards last month, and has set up 27 of these displays throughout Tokyo subway stations. So far, hopes are high for the Digital Signage Promotion Project, which is curently in test phase.

“The camera can distinguish a person’s sex and approximate age, even if the person only walks by in front of the display, at least if he or she looks at the screen for a second,” a spokesman says when asked about the project.

Once locatons are analyzed further, companies can pprovide interactive advertisements “which meet the interest of people who use the station at a certain time,” the project said in a statement.

The Japanese technlology does not gather personal information such as names. They simply collect average demographic data. The billboards use face recognition software to gather data for the program, and the project has assured us that they do not record or store photographs, only collected data about certain groups of people.

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