January 1, 2012

The Interactive Shop Window – Shopping at your Finger Tips

Developed by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the Interactive Shop Window enables passers-by to operating a screen mounted behind a shop widow simply by using gestures. All they need to do is point their fingers to rotate digital objects on the screen, zoom in on them for more detail, or browse through a virtual catalogue.

The Interactive Shop Window offers users easy interaction with shopping or product information systems installed on the screen. The product isn’t only ideal for use in department stores and retail outlets but also for all kinds of interactive applications in libraries, museums and public administration.

The benefits for both providers and users are plain to see. Providers can retrieve extensive information on products and services at any time of day or night and scale it as a short summary or a fully detailed version. As operation of the screen is touchless it is also hygienic and the screen never becomes smeared no matter how many people use it. Interaction between users and the screen has real-time capability. The system is also vandal-proof and compatible with all types and sizes of monitor screens.

Technical Background

Four small cameras mounted on the window record the position of the passer-by’s hands, face and eyes. Image processing software detects the spatial position of one or more fingers from the camera pictures in real-time. These 3D coordinates are then translated into computer commands. The software recognizes both hand gestures such as the motion of turning pages and the tiny movements fingers make when pointing at buttons on the monitor screen, and translates them into movements of the cursor.

Expertise at Fraunhofer HHI

The "Interactive Media – Human Factors" department of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute has a solid track record in the research and development of touchless human-machine interaction systems, and works with a range of technologies for object detection and tracking (hand-head/eye-tracking). The IPoint technology deployed in the Interactive Shop Window is already being used in applications for operating theatres and kitchens which call for high standards of hygiene, but it can equally be used for presentation of rare exhibits in museums.