Virgin Mobile YouTube channel using eye tracking to change ads as you blink

Virgin Mobile is testing out an interesting new technology on its YouTube page that will allow users to quickly skip over ads by simply blinking their eyes (via GigaOm). Virgin is calling the feature “BlinkWashing” and using your computer’s webcam in order to track eye movement and change ads as you blink.

If you head over to the Virgin YouTube page, you’ll see a blink washing tab where you can configure the feature by allowing access to your webcam and running through a short calibration process. Once you’ve set it up, the page will allow you to flip through a number of different videos just by blinking.

It’s not clear what Virgin plans on doing with the feature, or if it will just be a gimmicky marketing tool to bring people to its channel. Blinking doesn’t seem to be the ideal method of changing a video or skipping an ad, as you’ll often find yourself activating the blink washing accidentally or forcing yourself not to blink in order to make through an entire clip that you actually want to watch. Of course, we could see other implementations of similar eye and head tracking features in the future: Think scrolling and pausing video with head movements, much like Samsung and others have implemented on smartphones in recent years.