Geo Week News

January 21, 2011

Fraunhofer eyes 3D imaging in the retail environment

Retail Gesture

Very interesting release today from Fraunhofer, discussing the potential application of 3D imaging technology in a retail application. To wit:

A woman passing by the window display is captivated and asks her companion “Isn’t the leather bag chic?” “Which one do you mean? There are so many of them.” The woman points to one of the bags and as if by magic the luxurious purse appears on a display behind the shop window. Then she points to a button and the designer object rotates on the screen. “So that’s what it looks like from the back.” The woman passing by is impressed. She makes another gesture to zoom the bag towards her letting her to see every detail. 

“Gosh, Jane, isn’t this item in this shop window ever-so-attractive? And look – I can learn more about it with just the flick of my dainty wrist!”

Yes, 3D to improve the window-shopping experience. Just as Kinect can follow gestures to command video games, so too could interactive retail displays follow gestures to provide commands to computers designed to serve up information about items seen in a retail window.

Further, the retail application just gets the wheels spinning about other applications for such interactive display technology. As Fraunhofer notes in the release, there are obvious uses in museum environments, where visitors could shape their learning experience as they travel through the displays. But what about a medical environment, where it would be advantageous for no one to ever have to actually touch anything? Or how about in space, where it would be difficult to travel over to a keyboard or touchscreen but easy enough to control something just by gesture.

The potential uses are just about infinite.

Fraunhofer are clearly at the leading edge of laser scanning applications. At SPAR Europe, Thilo Sander presented on “new large aperture 1D-MEMS scanner module especially designed for laser radar systems enabling a new generation of miniaturized, robust and potentially costefficient LIDAR systems.”

If you’re looking to see them speak in a more consumer environment, see them at Cebit in March in Hannover, Germany.

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