Window shopping goes high tech with gesture recognition

The Fraunhofer Institute's interactive shop window lets people use gestures to learn more about products on display

Fraunhofer's motion tracking sensor has been under development for a decade, long before the Microsoft Kinect sensor--which can also be used--debuted.

Fraunhofer's motion tracking sensor has been under development for a decade, long before the Microsoft Kinect sensor--which can also be used--debuted.

German researchers have given a new meaning to window shopping. At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute showed a prototype that lets shoppers learn more about what's in a store display window when the store is closed.

Called the Interactive Shop Window the system consists of a flat screen monitor and a motion tracker positioned behind the glass of a store's front window.

When window-shoppers stand in front of the window, they can point at a product they want. Then the display box holding the product will light up and information for the object will be shown on the screen. Window-shoppers can then view it in different colors or sizes, or learn more about it.

The system is controlled by the window-shopper's gestures, which are captured using motion tracking technology that the Fraunhofer team has been working on for a decade.

The institute is looking for partners to further the technology and one day change the look of department store windows.

"We're searching for partners in the industry to bring it as a new product," said Paul Chojacki, in charge of interactive media for the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. "We have some bigger companies in Germany who are interested in this," he said, although he didn't say which ones.

Before the system is ready for a commercial debut there are still some bugs that need to be worked out. For example, the pointer will sometimes jump around the screen, or something will be selected that wasn't intended.

Chojacki said one of the biggest challenges was making sure the motion tracking system filtered out reflections on the store front glass.

"The window is a problem for us because it's reflecting light and pictures," he said. "We found a solution that is working very well right now."

Another problem for the team will be teaching passers by how to use the system because it isn't all that intuitive. Users have to stand in exactly the right spot and make gestures in a defined area for the motion tracker to see them.

Chojacki said that the Fraunhofer motion tracker could be replaced by a Microsoft Kinect sensor, but that theirs is specially tailored for the project.

Fraunhofer has been working on its motion tracker well before the Kinect premiered, and has shown it at previous IFA shows.

In 2008 it was used in the iPointPresenter project, which allowed users to control a mouse cursor using gestures. At the time it could only track objects on a 2D plane.

In 2009 the team upgraded the system for the iPoint3D project that recognized gestures on the X, Y and Z axes. Chojacki was also involved with iPoint3D.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags peripheralspopular scienceretailIFAwebcamsmonitorsInput devicesFraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Instituteindustry verticals

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?