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So your next customer is going to be a dog, apparently

Yep, pets are the next consumers, that’s according to PhD researcher Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, who’s studying a new area of animal-computer interaction at the University of Central Lancashire.

She’s already started looking at building intelligent systems that can track a dog’s gaze as it watches a video and then attempts to learn what things they actually want to see.

Not surprisingly, dogs love dog videos, just like us.

Hirskyj-Douglas’s goal is to create an interactive media system that lets dogs choose what they want to watch, not because she thinks animals want to watch Hollyoaks, she’s actually focused on the welfare of animals that are left alone.

“All of these devices may sound rather like novelty items,” Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas says. “Many people laugh when they hear about animal technology and point out, for example, that an animal cannot type. This doesn’t stop many humans from using technology so why should it stop animals?”

From gaming to health monitoring, apes to chickens, animal-computer interaction is in its early days, but promises to help us understand and perhaps even help other species in a way we haven’t been able to before.

“These technologies share a serious underlying aim of improving animal welfare in a world where animals are often kept in small, confined spaces with little stimulation, rather than roaming free in their natural habitats,” Hirskyj-Douglas explains.

If researchers like her are successful, this could mean a whole new world of new products, consumers and no doubt new ad metrics to go with them.