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Store mannequins spy on shoppers

Ever get the creepy feeling that department store mannequins are watching you? You just may be right.

By Shannon McCarthy Nov 22, 2012 10:02PM

Photo: Spy mannequin // Almax

Sure, it’s way past Halloween, but we’ve got a brand new report from Bloomberg that puts a slight chill in our holiday shopping sales jaunts. Mannequins are no longer simply mute witnesses to the sea of passing humanity, but active participants in information gathering and consumer profiling. (The Daily Mail has video of them in action here.)

Related: Fall fashion modern mannequins (and fashionistas) crave

We assumed these stylish spies sport an embedded camera behind one eye to help with loss prevention (aka shoplifting), but the main purpose, according to Italian manufacturer Almax, is to send images back to closed-circuit TVs for retail buying trend analysis. Through the mannequin’s fixed gaze, people are monitored as they browse and choose items. Facial recognition software then specifies the age, gender and race of shoppers. While this sounds way too much like that Twilight Zone episode that freaked us out as kids, the “Eye See” mannequin is already parked in five companies in the U.S. and Europe, and more orders arrive all the time at a whopping five grand a piece. The next update involves tweaking the mannequins so they can hear folks’ chatter. Color us creeped out.

Related: Browse party gowns from the privacy of home

Tell us: What do you think of these new spy mannequins? Cool or creepy?

Photo: Courtesy of Almax


Dec 1, 2012 11:41PM

three things in my life I hate the most, liars, cheat's and especially thieves. Down to thievery, go Manny Quinn.

Nov 29, 2012 8:55AM
This is illegal and something they can be sued for.
Nov 29, 2012 7:22AM
have nothing to hide, I really dont give a sh_ _  Stanley H
Nov 29, 2012 5:36AM
HOW many of you , really read this article? The reason behind these mannequins , is so the store can tell who is buying what. That means facial recognition, so that tells ages, sexes, shopping what departments, buying for regular or sale prices. The mannequins are not being bought to observe shoplifting as of now. They should be illegal, but then again when you sign up for rewards cards at retailers, this also give these companies information about peoples buying habits. Don't we buy enough already???
Nov 29, 2012 5:26AM
I wanna see some mannequin camel toe so I can get me some hot wood
Nov 29, 2012 4:53AM
  This world is just getting way out of hand,good grief, what's next?
Nov 29, 2012 3:27AM

creepy. kinda interesting. need to be notified that there is a camera in the mannequins.


Nov 29, 2012 2:39AM
Aren't the stores making enough money.  Now they're spying on us to see how to lure in bigger bucks.  It's absolutely disgusting & a total turn-off.  I give up shopping forever!  Hope they all go bankrupt!
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