CeBIT: Window-shopping in the future at giant tech fair

Mar 01, 2011
A woman demonstrates the "Interactive shop window" on a screen presented by the Frauenhofer Institute at the CeBIT IT fair on its opening day in Hanover, central Germany.

Always window-shopping but never stopping to buy? In the future you can do both with new technology allowing you to point through the window at items and buy them with a swish of your hand.

The technology, already making a splash at the , the world's biggest high-tech fair, uses a series of infrared cameras that register the movements of your hand and instantly transmit them to a large screen in the shop window.

The shopper stands about a metre (yard) away from the glass and simply points to the desired dress, hat, bag or shoes.

Instantly a new menu appears showing the item in 3D, along with crucial retail information such as the sizes available, colours -- and of course, price.

With another brief wave of the hand, the user can rotate the item in 3D, change the colour and scroll through similar products.

If the punter decides to take the plunge, he or she points at the "checkout" icon and pays by placing a against the glass.

"It's secure, easy and of course 24/7," said Paul Chojecki, project manager at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, which developed the technology.

One of the main advantages over technology is that the user does not need to input that could be visible to passers-by, he said, predicting it would soon become everyday practice.

"It's the same as with touch screens," he said. "At first, everyone thought it was strange, now everyone does it."

A girl demonstrates the "Interactive shopping window" on a screen presented by the Frauenhofer Institute at the CeBIT IT fair on its opening day in Hanover, central Germany. More than 4,200 tech firms from 70 countries are expected to attend this year's CeBIT, with many of the big names that stayed away during the global financial crisis returning to Germany.

Another advantage of this system over touch screen technology is that it is much more hygienic as there is no contact with the glass.

Chojecki said you could be buying things with your finger sooner than you might think. "I would say in two years, this technology will be fairly widespread. A few big stores have already expressed an interest.

The first prototypes will likely be coming to a store near you this year, he added.

"It's really a revolution for window-shopping."

More than 4,200 exhibitors are showcasing their latest technologies at the CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, which runs until March 5 and hopes to attract some 350,000 visitors.

Explore further: IBM's Watson advises US soldiers on life after service

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Window shopping, virtually

Jan 05, 2011

Researchers want to make shopping trips a special experience in future by enabling passers-by to operate window displays with hand and facial gestures. Four cameras record the 3-D positions of people’s ...

iPoint 3D - Using fingers as a remote control

Feb 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The 'iPoint 3D' allows people to communicate with a 3-D display through simple gestures - without touching it and without 3-D glasses or a data glove. What until now has only been seen in ...

Gesture-driven computers

Feb 29, 2008

It isn’t always easy to communicate with a computer. Two Fraunhofer Institutes will be presenting new possibilities of man-machine interaction at CeBIT in Hanover (Germany) on March 4 through 9. They will demonstrate how ...

Star chef points the way

Feb 10, 2010

Master chef Johann Lafer is a virtuoso in the kitchen -- and with modern technology too. At his cookery school the TV celebrity adopts a high-tech approach to make things easier in the kitchen with the touchless ...

Giant tech fair goes 3D to pull in the punters

Feb 28, 2010

The world's biggest high-tech fair kicks off Tuesday with a focus on "smart" gadgets as well as "Avatar"-inspired 3D products to make consumers' lives easier -- and more fun.

Recommended for you

Medical advances turn science fiction into science fact

Jul 18, 2014

Exoskeletons helping the paralysed to walk, tiny maggot-inspired devices gnawing at brain tumours, machines working tirelessly as hospital helpers: in many respects, the future of medicine is already here.

User comments : 0