SoftKinetic And Intel Partner For Minority Report-Style Ads

Startup SoftKinetic just announced a new kind of advertising, one that combines its gesture-control technology with Intel’s video analytics.

The goal is for people to walk up to a digital display equipped with SoftKinetic’s 3D camera and move their arms (or the rest of their body) to interact with the display, similar to Microsoft Kinect. Then, as you’re moving, Intel’s AIM technology can identify your age and gender, which is crucial information for advertisers — and also useful for personalizing the content to each viewer.

For example, as outlined over email by SoftKinetic’s vice president of marketing and communications Virgile Delporte, a young woman might walk up to SoftKinetic-equipped display at an airport, and she could browse information about nearby malls and fashion-related shops. If the viewer was an older man, they might see an ad for a nearby cigar shop.

The description reminds me of one of the most famous scenes in Minority Report, when Tom Cruise’s character runs through the mall and all of the advertisements start delivering personalized messages. (The movie is also famous for featuring gesture-controlled computers, so clearly the SoftKinetic team was watching very closely) Of course, not everyone thinks the Minority Report future is positive, but for people worried about privacy, Delporte assures me that SoftKinetic’s data will be anonymized.

“Only statistical information will be stored, and this anonymous data will be shared in the cloud to provide real-time data to the advertisers, who can easily test different advertising scenarios,” he says. “Think about the way web advertising is managed today. Combined with 3D imaging analysis, the data will get even more accurate.”

SoftKinetic doesn’t have any customers to announce yet, but it’s demonstrating the technology at the Integrated Systems Europe conference in Europe starting January 31. I’ve included a video of SoftKinetic’s technology in action at Yahoo, as well as the Minority Report scene, below.