Almax creates mannequins that watch customers and track habits using facial recognition

November 20, 2012 - 

Facial recognition is an increasingly prevalent biometric technology. Italian mannequin maker Almax has produced the EyeSee  , a mannequin that spies on customers and uses facial recognition to log age, gender and race of customers and passers-by.

Reported first by Bloomberg, the EyeSee costs US$5,072 and features a camera embedded in one eye which feeds data into software which helps merchants tailor customer experience and promotions. The mannequin, which hit the market last December, is now being used in three European countries and the U.S.

Though this is a unique approach to profiling consumer habits in the retail space, this is not the only implementation of facial recognition in stores. As reported previously in, NEC, a leader in biometric technology, recently launched NeoFace, a cloud-based recognition solution to help companies inform their marketing strategies, relying on the use of only a security camera and internet connection.

According to the manufacturer, what sets the EyeSee apart is that it exists at eye level and invites customer attention.

Almax is reportedly testing new technology that recognizes words to allow retailers to eavesdrop on what shoppers say about the mannequin’s attire and is looking to add screens next to the dummies to prompt customers about products relevant to their established customer profile.

U.S. and EU regulations permit the use of security cameras, though retailers need to put up signs in their stores warning customers they may be filmed. Watching people solely for commercial gain may break the rules and could be viewed as gathering personal data without consent, Christoper Mesnooh, a partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse in Paris told Bloomberg.

Addressing these privacy concerns, as reported previously in, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a best practices report concerning common uses of the technology last month. Written to preserve consumer privacy, the FTC recommends that companies using facial recognition design their services with privacy in mind.

How do you perceive facial recognition technology in a retail setting? 

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj