You go to a large grocery store to buy some Fuji apples. The signs tell you which are organic and which aren’t, but that (and the price per weight) is about all the information you’ll get. Now imagine a shopping scenario where you could learn much more about those apples: the orchard where they were grown, what chemicals they were treated with, how long ago they were picked, where they were warehoused, and more. And imagine you could learn all this just by pointing your finger at the fruit.
Visitors to the Future Food District at Milan Expo 2015 needn’t imagine such a shopping trip—they experienced it in the Grocery Store of the Future, a pavilion that functioned as a real grocery store, complete with 1,500 products on display. What the shoppers might not have noticed were the 200 Kinect for Xbox One sensors strategically placed near the product displays. But while the shoppers might not have seen the Kinect sensors, the sensors certainly saw them, capturing their body images and measuring their distance from the product display.
Two hundred fifty strategically placed Kinect for Xbox One sensors enabled shoppers
to obtain detailed product information simply by pointing their finger.
Then, when a Kinect sensor detected a shopper pointing at an item, an overhead, mirrored display presented an array of detailed product information, extracted from a Microsoft Azure cloud database. The gesture recognition resulted from a custom WFP application created by business solutions providers Accenture and Avanade. The developers chose the Kinect for Xbox One sensor because it provides precise body tracking and has the ability to detect shoppers at medium depth from the product displays. They also valued the high reliability of the sensors, which were mounted in a crowded environment and functioning 24 hours a day.
So the next time you’re in the produce aisle puzzling over which apple to buy, think about those lucky patrons at the Milan Expo. And be comforted by the knowledge that the technology that powered the Grocery Store of the Future is here today.
The Kinect for Windows Team