London: If you are given to gossiping and easing out in office the minute your boss steps out, beware your computer could be keeping an eye on you.
Researchers from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, have developed a new kind of computer monitor which will be able to tell your boss if you are paying attention at work or not.
It works by having a camera mounted above the workstation display which can identify the user`s eyes to see if they are looking at the computer or not.
The technology is an unsettling echo of technologies being introduced in television set-top boxes to peer back at viewers and automatically serve appropriate adverts.
The research team, however, contends its innovation is not aimed at keeping an eye on workers, but merely to ensure they don`t miss anything new which appears on their screens.
The system called "Diff Displays", detects when its user is not looking at a display and replaces the regular screen image with a calm and non-distractive visualisation of the screen`s activity instead.
It reduces distractions by fading out the parts of the screen that remain static and by subtly visualising changes in the display over time.
When the user looks back at a display, the system quickly changes back from the visualisation to the actual screen content via different forms of animation.
The technology could be of crucial use in high-pressure environments such as air-traffic control rooms, where workers have several screens to keep tabs on, say researchers.