Must-See Exhibition: Gaze Tracking Technology

Marketing Innovation with behavior analysis based on gaze tracking technology

Short-range (left) and long-range (right) sensors

Fujitsu Forum Tokyo is Fujitsu's largest event and was held from May 15-16, 2014, at the Tokyo International Forum in the city's Yurakucho district. In the exhibition hall, visitors were welcomed to a total of 72 demonstrations divided into three zones: Social Innovation, Business Innovation, and ICT for Innovation.

This report focuses on the gaze tracking system that was exhibited at the forum under the Marketing Innovation theme.

Gaze tracking technology accurately captures the movement of people's gaze.
At the exhibition booth, Fujitsu ran demonstrations of the two types of systems to enhance the shopping experience: a short-range system using a low-cost compact sensor about the size of an AA battery, and a long-range system, which is about the size of a small plastic bottle.

Identify what shoppers are looking at in real time - short-range gaze tracking

The low-cost, compact sensor used in the short-range system.

At the booth, the sensor was discreetly installed on a purse display shelf. The display set up above the shelf showed the movement of visitors'gaze, as well as the amount of time they looked at each item. This enabled the amount of interest visitors had in each item to be visualized on-screen in real time. The areas visitors looked at were represented with colors and the time spent looking at the items was expressed by variations in color (transitioning from blue to red). Installing this type of sensor at a store offers retailers better insight into consumer behavior and creates an opportunity for customers to have an enhanced retail environment.

Stimulating shopper motivation to buy at a distance - long-range gaze tracking

The moment a visitor looks at an item of interest while standing a couple of meters from the shelf, the long-range gaze tracking shows detailed information on that item on the digital signage mounted above the shelf. This system's purpose is to stimulate the shoppers'motivation to buy by displaying relevant information in real time using gaze tracking.

The system uses two sensors: one that recognizes the human face and another that senses the movement of people's eyes by zooming in on the face to accurately detect gaze from approximately a 2m distance.

Commercialization targeted for 2014; Exploring new potential applications for this technology

At first glance, the sensor may appear to be the most essential component of the gaze tracking technology. However, according to Satoshi Nakashima, Research Manager at the Image Computing Lab of Media Processing Systems Laboratories at Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., "The most important aspect of this technology is image processing."
He continues, "The hardware of the sensor itself does not differ too much from that of a conventional web camera. We devoted ourselves to identifying the precise movement of the eyes by detecting the position of the pupil and the position of the light reflected on the eyeball from blurred images."

In order to collect data on the technology's performance under a variety of conditions, his team set up a tent outside and performed accuracy experiments of the image processing technology with the tent flap opened and then closed. After a process of trial and error, they eventually reached a level of performance during the experiments that they could feel satisfied with.
"Our challenge going forward is to discover how gaze tracking technology can be applied beyond retail environments. We will search for possibilities to harness this real-time information in other areas of business and society."

With the aim of commercializing this technology during the 2014 fiscal year, Fujitsu has been accelerating research into the gaze tracking technology. Fujitsu will continue to search for further applications of this technology based on feedback from companies during the forum.