Plastic Surgeons Are Using Eye-Tracking Tech to Make Better Breasts
But the eye doesn’t necessarily gaze at what is beautiful
It may not be immediately clear why plastic surgeons in Poland needed eye-tracking software to create better female breasts, as a study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery described this week. You don’t need technology to tell you that women’s breasts get a lot of attention all on their own. Earlier this year, when gamers took part in the video game streaming network Twitch’s controversial Eye Tracking Challenge, which dared participants not to look at a woman’s cleavage, the joke was that participants knew they would fail.
But the new study is less about whether people stare at breasts and more about which parts of the breast — and why.
The paper, authored by a team of plastic surgeons at W. Orlowski Memorial Hospital in Warsaw, is the latest in a growing body of work aimed at developing an objective measure for breast aesthetics. It builds on the pioneering work of Stanford University surgeons who published the first paper on eye-tracking software and breast reconstruction in the same journal in March 2018, hoping to transform the art of breast creation into a quantifiable science.
When women undergo breast surgery, whether for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, there’s no consensus on what makes a good-looking breast. That makes it hard to ensure that the patient will be happy with the end result. “How do we judge beauty? We basically ask people, ‘Hey, does this look good?’ That’s not really very objective,” Dr. Gordon Lee, a Stanford professor of plastic surgery and co-author of the 2018 paper, tells OneZero. Eye-tracking software, he says, quantifies where on the breast the eye wanders, how long it lingers there, and where it might go after. “It’s providing some evidence as to why somebody likes or dislikes something,” adds Rahim Nazerali, Lee’s co-author and assistant professor of plastic surgery at Stanford.
It’s important to realize that the eye doesn’t necessarily gaze at what is beautiful.
“It’s natural for our brains to be looking at things that don’t quite fit,” says Lee. “It’s almost like Where’s Waldo?: You scan a picture, and you’re looking for something that…