It's about time someone did something cool with Kinect that wasn't an art project or a glorified Dance Dance Revolution. A new Mastercard prototype makes it scary easy to buy stuff off your TV with the flick of an arm.
If you're prepared to swipe, snap, and gesture your way into colossal credit card debt, Mastercard has you covered. Mastercard Labs is currently demoing a new shopping and payment system called QkR. It uses all of the smartness of your phone and the vision of Kinect to make buying stuff a breeze. I saw it, and I'm afraid of what my credit card bill is going to look like.
The Kinect gesture-shopping is amazing. While watching a QVC-like infomercial for a silly t-shirt, I simply followed the instructions "wave to buy." A transparant-grey shopping dialogue popped up with fields for size, colour and quantity. I bought the shirt, directed the purchase to ship to a stored home address, and I was instantly back at the infomercial, which had been playing behind the dialogue all along.
Got munchies? At one point I was shown that if I performed the sign language for eating -- basically just miming the act of stuffing a hamburger in your face -- QkR would pull up a dialogue for buying food.
Did I mention that I did this all with gestures? Not typing, dialling or clicking, but motions so simple I could have done them while sitting on my couch holding a beer in the other hand.
Sure, I was basically watching crap, but I used a QkR app loaded onto a Sprint Nexus S to buy products in a lot of different ways that could be incorporated into quality shows. While watching the infomercial, I scanned a QR code from a segment about a flashlight and the app immediately dumped me on a product page. I purchased it in under 30 seconds. Later while watching a television ad for some golf gear, I pressed an ear-shaped icon, and the app listened Shazzam-style before pulling up a product page. Bought it. WHAT? I don't even like golf!
There are other examples: I scanned coupons and deals off Facebook. I used the phone's NCF chip to activate a purchase by setting it down on a special coaster. I'm dying to see what Mastercard left behind in the lab because it was all really cool.
The Kinect buying won't catch on unless the hardware starts getting installed natively into new TVs, but the bottom line is that buying shit is going to get really easy. Way easier than 1-Click or buying songs on iTunes. Sure this is only a prototype, but Mastercard's product might just hit the spot. This was the promise of Kinect all along, right? Kinect was going to eliminate barriers. So everyone inhibited by the mouse and multi-touch screens, get ready. In shopping, gestures are the new clicks.