Sony’s got a message for children who get too close to their 3D HDTVs: Back off.
Using algorithms and geometrical data, a camera sensor attached to the television’s bottom bezel can apparently tell the difference between a child and an adult, the Wall Street Journal reports. Upon detecting a child within roughly 40 inches of the television, it sounds an alarm and the screen goes black, presenting only a warning that says to move farther away.
Nanny tech aside, Sony’s camera sensor actually does some cool things. It knows whether you’re looking at the screen, and darkens to save energy if you don’t glance back at the set within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the screen turns off entirely, and switches back on if you start looking once again. It’s not clear from the Journal’s report whether this technology can tell whether your eyes are open or closed, but I’d love to see a sleep timer that knows when you’ve dozed off (scary as it sounds). The sensor can also tell where people are sitting in a room and point audio in their direction.
Unfortunately, the sensor technology will only be available on 3D TVs, even though it works with both 2D and 3D viewing. And of course, these televisions have a steep price of 350,000, or roughly $3,900, in Japan, though the U.S. price will probably be cheaper. It’s too bad, because regular HDTVs could use improvements like the camera sensor without prematurely shoving 3D down our throats.
As for the child-tracking technology, it seems silly to base a feature on an old wives tale. As the New York Times reported a few years ago, sitting close to the television is not bad for your eyes, despite the long-held belief. Maybe 3D TV is more harmful at close range, but I haven’t seen any studies to that effect.