Next in Store: Augmented Reality Enters the Retail Space

  • Real-world objects are mingling with digital environments in a way that had been possible only on bluescreen movie sets. Known as “augmented reality,” the technology is starting to pop up at retail.
  • It was part of the Qualcomm keynote in the form of a “Sesame Street” playset that used the chipmaker’s Vuforia AR.
  • Intel is showcasing Lego Digital Box technology. When a customer presents a toy at a Digital Box kiosk, a discreetly-placed camera “recognizes” the packaging, activating a screen that mirrors the scene, with one important difference: the package contents spring to life atop the box. A Lego Digital Box kiosk is currently installed in the Chicago store and the company plans to roll them out nationally this year.
  • Over at the Microsoft booth they’re taking it interactive with gesture recognition, using technology developed for Kinect. Microsoft will release a Kinect for Windows SDK on February 1. The move was inspired by the fact that developers were hacking the Kinect software and using it for their own experimental projects.
  • Fashion marketing firm FaceCake was among those demonstrating their wares at Microsoft. The Calabasas-based firm leveraged Kinect to create an application called Swivel that lets customers “try on” clothing and accessories.
  • “We see it going to a place where just about everybody has a 3D depth camera in their home, and there will be displays in stores and the two will interact in what we call a Swivlet — a virtual closet,” FaceCake founder Leigh Utterback said.