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Webcam eye-tracking moves robot-powered Skittles candy

robot-powered-skittles

This is a great hack, and it’s an advertisement. We wish this were the norm when it comes to advertising because they’ve really got our number. Skittles enlisted a few engineers to build a web interface that moves robot-powered candies.

When we started looking into this we figured that a few robots were covered with over-sized cases that looked like Skittles. But that’s not it at all. What you see above is actually upside down. The top side of the white surface has one tiny wheeled robot for each candy. A magnet was embedded in each Skittle which holds it to the underside of the surface. The user interface was rolled out on a Facebook page. It uses a common webcam for eye tracking. When you move your eyes, the robot controlling your assigned candy moves in that direction. See for yourself in the cllip after the break.

So we say bravo Mars Inc. We love it that you decided to show off what’s behind to curtain. As with the Hyundai pixel wall, there’s a whole subset of people who might ignore the ad, but will spend a lot of time to find out how it was done.

Thanks [GM]

Comments

  1. John says:

    I hate to be that guy, but… well this is just silly.

  2. spag says:

    Next time I’m in the supermarket, I’m gonna buy some Skittles because this is awesome. Advertising worked! Anyway it’s interesting that the robots are wireless… If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because of time constraints: for the rapid prototype that this looks to be, dealing with power tether de-tangling in hardware or software is probably a lot to ask. Perhaps an alternative could have been bumper-car-style metal floor as ground, and energized mesh above.

    John: Your comment is silly!

  3. squeeky says:

    I can’t see the value of adding eye tracking here. Yes it is unusual, but your screen is static, the image doesn’t follow where you are looking, so you can’t see where you are driving your bot.

    Eye tracking for user interface – think pop-ups or active applications across multi monitor systems, or other persistent HUD style controls would be more interesting or useful than generic input.

  4. Kristoff says:

    the robots were totally unnecessary, it could’ve been done in a simulation just as convincingly. As an engineer, it was painful to listen to the narrator.

  5. Tweeks says:

    Ummm… hmmm…

  6. soopergooman says:

    link?

  7. Webcam World says:

    Very cool. I can only imagine the possibilities of where this application could be used.

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