In Japan, a new system is being tested at a mall using cameras and software that can determine age, gender and, possibly one day, social class. The system is not just for security. It's also there so mall owners can gather data about mall shoppers and their shopping patterns.
FieldAnalyst isn't looking for criminals or Osama Bin Laden lookalikes. Instead, the data is intended to help mall owners better understand their visitors. How come no one is going to a certain store? What time of day do most of the 40- to 50-year-old women visit the place? Did the recent promotion reach the desired demographic?
NEC started selling it in Japan a few weeks ago and already a few malls have installed it.
It's not pinpoint accurate, but it is fast. It said I was 50, for instance, twice. (In reality, it's 46 3/4.) But it came up with that answer in a few seconds. It works better with Japanese people as the vast majority of the samples in the database are Japanese.
Full story at CNET.