If you’re familiar with Microsoft’s Kinect technology, you were probably amazed the first time you saw it, since its motion tracking accuracy looks like it’s been taken straight out of a science fiction movie. That said, having such an awesome technology restricted to just gaming would be quite a waste: that’s why Razorfish, a company that designs creative user experiences, has applied it to shopping. Say hello to KinectShop!
This new project adapts Kinect to clothes shopping, allowing buyers to try products on, without having to physically do it, as explained by Steve Dawson, Technology Director for the Emerging Experiences group at Razorfish:
The customer can visually see what an object looks like on them without even entering a retail store, [...] with Kinect, you can find the physical outlines of a person and map it to your body.
As you can tell from the video above, shoppers can simply stand in front of the screen, use arm and hand gestures to pick the products and see how well they’d look like on them. Thanks to Kinect’s great accuracy, this system even detects the shopper’s body shape, making the whole process a whole lot more reliable.
More important, however, is the potential this can have outside the store. As demoed on the video, users can purchase products straight from KinectShop. As customers become more comfortable with online shopping, this could be the final piece needed to eliminate the need for physical stores altogether: the necessity to try clothes on to make sure they fit will no longer apply, since all of that could now be done virtually.
Microsoft’s Kinect was first announced at E3 2009, under the codename "Project Natal", claiming to eliminate game controllers altogether, a promise that took gamer’s minds by storm. Once the system is set up, gamers can simply move in front of the screen to control compatible games, which have been developed by third-parties ever since the technology was announced. Over one year later, on November 4th 2009, the Xbox add-on shipped in North America and in the rest of the world soon after. 10 million units of the product have been sold since March 2011.
Of course KinectShop isn’t ready for prime time, and it likely won’t be for quite a long time. While that might be the case, it definitely reveals the potential of the future of online shopping (and our credit cards).