Toshiba to pilot "holographic" self-check kiosks in Tokyo 7-Eleven stores
A novel solution to a common problemBy Cal Jeffrey
In context: One negative aspect of the self-checkout stands in stores is they are thickly riddled with germs. Sometimes an attendant will wipe down the touchscreens but rarely are the machines cleaned after every transaction. However, what if you didn't have to touch the display.
Toshiba is making moves in this direction with touchless "holographic" displays. The self-check stands do not employ actual holograms---it looks to be more of a variation on the Pepper's Ghost illusion. When combined with gesture recognition, the effect can be pretty convincing.
Amazon has touchless check-out at some of its brick-and-mortar stores, but the tech it uses is expensive and proprietary. So Toshiba will test its point-of-sale (POS) platform at 7-Elevens in Japan. It might be worth mentioning that 7-Eleven stores in Japan are less focused on convenience items and carry more products you would typically find in a grocery store in the US. Japan also has triple the number of 7-Elevens as the US.
You can see an example of the kiosk in the video above (masthead), but the camera has a hard time capturing the three-dimensional look of the touchscreen. Users scan items as usual while products and totals are displayed on the faux-holographic display.
To the user, the keypad appears to be hovering just above the glass panel, while hidden motion sensors capture hand movements to process button presses. Only the customer using the system can see the screen. It just appears like the person is arbitrarily pointing at nothing to anyone else.
The machines are operating in a pilot program for now. Six Tokyo 7-Eleven stores will test the kiosks beginning tomorrow, February 1. The device's novelty and continued covid fears will likely see the self-check stand fill up. There is no word if the POS systems will land in the US.