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Friday, December 5, 2014

how good are you in ordering food ? - menu tracked by movement of retina

Life has changed in fast lane – 50 years ago, the best (or the only available hotels) in Triplicane would be Murali Café, Vaitha Hotel, Bommi hotel, Ratna Café and a couple more …….. those were the days when the ‘Menu card’ was not prevalent [it is another that in many hotels, you may not be able to decipher what the dish is going by the name in the card – one needs to order and guess what would end up !] …. The eternal Q is to be ‘What is hot’ ? [meaning what is available – freshly made] – the server would reel out – idly, vada, pongal, dosai, rava dosai, chapathi, masala dosa, puri, idiyappam ….and the like – and sometimes the person would simply order ‘coffee’ !

The Center Fresh advertisement  - sticking one’s tongue was considered impolite and even rude in some cultures – these advertisements showed with a sense of humour how people would be benefitted by keeping their mouth shut (with centre fresh chewing gum!)…. Then they launched a newer dimension – the madly wagging tongue that yearns for Center Fruit – one of the advts -  where a South Indian aspirant for the server job would reel out the menu fast, that it would make the Owner hug him happily was an instant hit.  That was fresh and different from the usual -  'keeps your tongue on a leash' theme.  

Server Sundaram, the 1964  comedy cinema is well remembered for Nagesh’s role as a waiter. His juggling many coffee-dabarahs was a scene much acclaimed. In Hindi, it was remade as Main Sunder Hoon; and in Kannada as Server Somanna. 

How good are you in ordering in a restaurant for Self and your group ? – and though not sure whether this would work as well for a group, here is something on ‘Pizza Hut launching digital menu that reads your mind by tracking eye movement... and tells you what to order in 2.5 seconds’. Mailonline reports of this refreshing innovation that can tell you what you want to eat in the blink of an eye, simply by tracking the movement of your retina. In exactly 2.5 seconds the subconscious menu reads the minds of customers, by using a  mathematical algorithm to identify a customer's perfect pizza. The incredible software was developed for Pizza Hut  by Swedish eye tracking technology pioneers Tobii Technology.

Taking six months to build, the menu is completely controlled by the customer's retina. The four-step process starts when the software detects the users retina and gaze by asking customers to randomly look at different circles. Eye movements are tracked against the small marks on the screen.  The software then detects the gaze of the user by changing the logos on the interface from big to small. This is then followed by ingredients tracking, where the user is given three seconds to look at 20 ingredients on the screen. The algorithm then kicks in and the menu identifies the perfect pizza based on which ingredients the user has been looking at the longest.

Linger over peppers and sweet corn; the customer will be served a vegetarian pizza. If the user is of a more carnivorous persuasion and holds a longer gaze towards pepperoni and chicken then the meat feast is offered as an option. If customers aren't happy with what their subconscious has decided, they can restart the process by gazing at the 'restart' button. Chartered consumer psychologist Dr Simon Moore says our subconscious plays an important role in the foods we decide to eat.

The menu identifies the perfect pizza based on which ingredients the user has been looking at the longest. 'Quick brain responses are probably hardwired to our evolutionary survival reflex. We are automatically drawn to foods that give us more nutrition– it is a safety mechanism we've inherited from primitive man that still plays a role in our subconscious decision making, even when we might be choosing pizza.' Kathryn Austin Head of Marketing at Pizza Hut Restaurant said: 'We love to excite and innovate. We wanted to try a few ideas on the traditional menu format and we're delighted to have developed the world's first Subconscious Menu, a unique way to reinvent the dining experience.'

Interesting to say the least, though taste may not be guaranteed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Dec 2014.

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