10/16/2017

Soon, Your Boss Will Be Watching Your Every Eye Movement — Get Ready


This article is NSFW — Not Safe for Work. Not because of sex or drugs or images of scantily clad women. For that, or for at least two of the three, check out my colleague’s repertoire. But if you’re at work, then under no circumstances should you be reading this article for pleasure. How dare you!

As you may know, your boss has the right to monitor your browsing history during working hours to ensure that company-issued technology is used in a productive manner. And now comes a new development that can track, monitor and optimize workers in the physical world too.

Enter the latest performance-enhancing device: eye-tracking glasses. Granted, eye-tracking tech has been around for decades within the four walls of a lab. It’s frequently used in academia for psychological studies and in software development to judge how intuitive or confusing a website is for new users. It’s only recently, though, that it’s been possible to miniaturize and integrate tracking hardware into glasses that allow wearers to freely explore the world as tiny cameras monitor every subconscious glance or iris twitch. A third front-facing camera captures the surrounding environment.

With a few fancy algorithms and some trigonometry, the glasses can output a video overlaid with a triangulated point of the wearer’s real-time gaze, explains Tom Englund, a business unit president at Sweden-based Tobii. While the glasses have been employed to test how shoppers interact with store displays, for example, the “human performance segment” — with employers using the glasses to help train or monitor workers — is a burgeoning new market, says Englund. The gizmo could lead to new workflow efficiencies, or an overreaching boss getting an even creepier level of oversight....more