It’s not easy being a teddy bear – you’re a child’s first love, cuddled every night, cared for like a pet. But then the child discovers electronics, video games, girls. You’re left to lie in the corner gathering more dust than a Wii.
Sony Computer Entertainment (Sony’s PlayStation division) obviously feels bad for these poor creatures, so they’ve devised a teddy that will tell you how it feels. At first, all is great in teddy land:
But then – disaster! The child has a new toy and teddy is all alone:
What creeps me out the most about this is how eerily similar it is to my poetry I published only yesterday (get out of my head Sony!) But what will probably creep you out the most is how exactly Sony plans for the teddy to know if you’re with him – by tracking your eyes. Add that to a SCE patent for a PlayStation doll that we also discovered which could cry and synthesize speech and we’re never going to turn the lights off.
When child 502 is not looking at toy 504, as illustrated in FIG. 5B, toy 504 responds by trying to induce the child to play with the toy, and eventually, after a predetermined period, by shutting down. For example, the toy may emit a verbal message (“Play with me”), or flash some lights, sound a siren, move closer to the child, etc. Thus, the behavior of the toy changes according to the gaze of the child.
The patent details several uses of their gaze tracking technology, including the teddy bear, but also more useful embodiments like a car that warns you if you take your eyes off of the road or a phone that reads out loud from where you left off if your eyes wander. The whole thing does feel rather horrifying, though, as Sony plans to track your eyes pretty much all the time – from lighting up a watch when you stare at it, to working out if you’re watching TV in a bar.
For those wondering what this has to do with PlayStation, a previous patent PSLS uncovered looked at eye tracking (and earlobe tracking) in computer games, suggesting that Sony could have big plans for watching what you watch.
Would you buy a teddy bear that got lonely? Would you mind the privacy issues of Sony watching your eyes if it meant that your tech was more intuitive? Is this the first step to full-on DNA tracking? Share your thoughts in the comments below, but try to do it while only using your peripherals to train yourself for the inevitable robot teddy invasion.