How Microsoft Is Creating Minority Report Storefronts for Real

Remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise walks into a store and a cheery face on a video screen turns to him and asks how those assorted tank tops worked out for him? The tech isn’t just fantasy anymore — it’s here and now, thanks to M

Hooking up the just-announced Kinect for Windows sensor with a software package from Razorfish, Microsoft has created an interactive storefront, which the company unveiled at a retail trade show in New York City. The setup lets passers-by interact with the store display and even use their smartphones to access store catalogs and shop.

It goes like this: The store window has a TV behind it hooked up to a Kinect. The moment someone walks by the display and into the Kinect’s field of view, the display reacts to grab their attention. Once in front of the screen, they can gesture to call up items they’re interested in, swipe through inventory, or interact with the models, depending on the precise software setup.

When you get your smartphone involved, it’s even more interesting. The screen displays a QR code in the top corner, which will hook the phone up with an HTML5 app built for the store. Then the user can walk away and shop whenever he or she wants, and even use it with Microsoft Surface tables inside, if the store has them.

Microsoft’s obviously catering to retailers here, but how do you feel as a customer? Do you think an interactive ad is fun and exciting? Or is it just creepy? Give us your take in the comments.

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