Engineers at Microsoft Corp. have developed a prototype advertising system that uses a small video camera and facial-recognition software to try to determine a viewer's gender and select an appropriate ad to display.
The system is intended for use with large video screens in public places, such as shopping malls. It's one of the projects being pursued inside Microsoft's adCenter Labs -- part of the company's effort to come from behind in online ads and other forms of digital marketing.
Microsoft says adCenter Labs has doubled in size during the past year, to more than 120 people, in Redmond and Beijing. Researchers and engineers from the group showed their latest work at an event Wednesday on the Microsoft campus.
"I really believe that the future of the entire advertising industry is sitting in this room," said David Jakubowski, general manager of Microsoft's overall adCenter advertising system.