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I don’t know if it was because of the layout of the surrounding skyscrapers, the beat-up old boom box we had in the lobby, or just a weak signal from the local broadcaster, but at one of my old jobs, we could never get a clear radio signal. This didn’t mean we had no musical accompaniment while we worked though, just that we had to use CDs. Unfortunately, on many days that meant a constant repeat of the Enya CD my boss would stick in the player.

She may be an award-winning artist, but a selection you could describe as “soothing and ethereal” wasn’t exactly the best choice to help power the staff through our shift. Sometimes I’d see one of my coworkers nodding off in front of his PC monitor, and I’d give him a quick, “Hey, wake up dude,” before our boss noticed.

I’m sure he appreciated the favor, but now technology can perform that same service for you, with a program that’ll send a cute anime girl onto your screen to wake you up if you doze off.

Niconico Douga user Niku9 recently shared his creation with the world by uploading a demonstration to the popular Japanese video-sharing site. The hardware requirements are pretty simple, as all it requires is a PC and Tobii EyeX Controller, a sensor which attaches to the edge of the monitor.

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The sensor tracks the user’s eyes, and uses this data to determine which part of the screen he’s currently focusing on. As the demonstration shows, it’s accurate enough that it won’t get thrown off by someone wearing glasses, either.

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Since it’s constantly looking for your eyes, if you close them, the EyeX Controller will register that you’re not looking at the screen at all. Once it makes that conclusion, Niku9’s program dispatches this young lady, named Unity.

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“Good morning! Let’s do our best today!” the blonde with a bouncy personality calls out. At least, her personality is bouncy in the beginning. If the sensor picks up that you’re still not focused on the screen, Unity figures her job isn’t done, and that a more forceful approach is necessary.

First, she’ll get concerned, asking, “Hey, hey, what’s going on?”

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If that still doesn’t do the trick, she’ll start to get exasperated, prodding you with, “And how is your assignment coming along?”

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Finally, she’ll get downright angry, yelling, “Geez, what an idiot!”

▼ Or, “Mou, baka!” in Japanese.

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Unity’s sugar-and-spice disposition still ends up on the sweet side, though. Once you finally do open your eyes, she rewards you with a smile and some encouragement, telling you, “Looks like you dozed off. Hang in there, OK?”

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As cool and creative as the setup is, there are a couple of problems we could see with it. First, since the sensor doesn’t seem to be able to distinguish between whether your eyes are closed or just turned elsewhere, perhaps to fill out some paperwork or look over reference materials. When Unity makes her first appearance in the video, Niku9’s eyes are wide open, just not locked onto his monitor.

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Secondly, if you’re in an office, having an anime girl yelling at you for all of your coworkers to hear seems like it would reflect at least as poorly on your conduct as an employee as a short catnap at your desk.

On the other hand, this could be just the sort of thing for people who work from home or students who need to buckle down and finish their term papers. And since the program seems to simply load up different animations based on the information it gets from the sensor, with a little tweaking, you could theoretically sub in any other attendant you want.

For example, we imagine some clips of model Risa Yoshiki getting mad as hell, like she does in her strange new TV series, would keep you on your toes.

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Unless, of course, she frightens you so much that you have to hide under your desk, where you can’t see the screen, leading the EyeX Controller to think you’re sleeping, and producing an endless loop of her tirades.

Still, can’t hurt your productivity much more than Enya.

Source: Niconico News
Top image: Niconico Douga
Insert images: Niconico Douga, YouTube