Microsoft developing Kinect-based TV ads that watch you

Ever since things like DVRs and On Demand programming were developed, more and more people have skipped through the commercials to watch their favorite TV shows. Now Microsoft is developing a technology that will allow TV advertisers to actually watch how an audience at home reacts to a TV commercial.

News.com reports that the program is called NUads (for natural user-interface ads). It involves using the Kinect motion gesture camera developed first for the Xbox 360 game console. With a NUads-based commercial, TV advertisers will be able to listen in on a TV audience at home via a microphone, or perhaps view the home audience via facial recognition or video.

Microsoft manager Lyn Watts gave an example of how TV advertisers could use that information:

How many people are in the living room? Are they taking any action based on the advertising they just saw? Can we watch the customers' reaction, and if we can, do we have the capability of showing a different ad, or the same ad, depending on what the reaction was?

Of course, all of this conjurers up a "Big Brother" future where we would be spied on while watching TV commercials. An unnamed Microsoft spokesperson is quoted as saying, "Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers' information and the safety of their experiences."

NUads-based TV ads could start showing up on your TV screen sometime in "late spring", according to Microsoft. There's no word on which advertisers or TV commercials will be the first to use this format.

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