Now, don’t get me wrong this is not a research paper by any university.

It is about building a dataset of human emotions and reactions. The test subjects will be watching VR content through a headset. Sensors in their body picks up signals such as brainwaves, heart rate, etc. to link commercials and people’s reaction to it. This prototype is called ‘VR On Air Test’ or VROAT.

Spearheading the effort is a consortium of 7 companies. AOI Pro. Inc., Altitude Inc., BlueMeme Inc., Fove Inc., NeuroSky Japan Inc., Up-frontier Inc., and Brycen Co. Ltd, have joined hands to form VR insights platform.

This data helps them to develop methods to further improve tailoring of Ads.

VR headsets present a unique opportunity as they ensure better eye tracking and isolation than conventional methods. “Users were not worried of having sensors on them measuring data while they were experiencing VR”, Mr. Takayuki Yoshizawa, creative director of experience design at AOI Pro Inc. told the press.

Why VR?

They were initially planning to collect data independently and then monetize it. But, then resorted to VR because it overcomes many limitations of conventional technologies. Previously, tracking results showed a general location to which the user was looking. Using eye tracking technologies like FOVE 0, eye tracking can be improved to within a degree of accuracy. He explained the process as “VR Insight collects, analyzes and interprets a variety of biophysical data (line of sight, brain waves, heart rate, etc.) from users in order to determine their emotional state.”

Using this data the company is building the world’s first platform to combine VR and accurate biophysical data. They call it the “Emotional data platform”. The marketing people can benefit greatly by understanding the connection between what people see and how they feel about it. While initially meant for advertising purposes, the company plans to extend this collection of data into other fields also.

This kind of personal data acquisition has ethical and privacy related implications for sure, but the greater good this may lead to makes it a risk worth taking.

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