Virgin introduces blinking technology to skip YouTube adverts
Virgin Mobile has launched new software in the US that tracks users eyes and allows them to blink in order to skip YouTube adverts.
The tracking software connects to a webcam to determine when a user blinks
The mobile network's YouTube channel has introduced "Blinkwashing" - new software that connects to a user's webcam and registers when they blink.
The channel requires the watcher to give Virgin control of his or her webcam, which is followed by a installation process that registers the user's eyes and asks them to blink so that the software can register the motion.
The user is then shown a series of video adverts, which they can skip through by blinking. Currently, the adverts are simply a group of videos showing Virgin Mobile offers.
The experiment is limited to Virgin Mobile's own YouTube page, and it is unclear whether the technology will catch on.
However, the benefits of the software are clear to advertisers, since for a blink to be registered the person has to actually be watching the advert, rather than looking away and ignoring it as they wait for a video to play.
In 2010, YouTube introduced a button to skip the adverts that run before a video. Although this option shortens the length of adverts, it is welcomed by advertisers because the active process of skipping the video is seen as a sign of engaging with it rather than ignoring the advert.
Sony has also patented advert-skipping technology that would allow a TV viewer to indicate that they had seen an advert by standing up or saying the subject of the ad.