Retail AR App Has Wine Bottles Talking To You

This is a really interesting use of augmented reality in a retail setting – wine bottles that talk to you and relate a story about the brand.

In this case, it is for the Aussie wine brand 19 Crimes (hmmm, pretty sure I have a bottle of that aging downstairs). Point app-enabled smartphone screen at the face on the label, and it starts talking.

I don’t think a whole pile of wine products have faces on them, but certainly there’s a healthy number of consumer products out there with animated people or animal characters.


Mastercard Touts AR Tech That Puts Virtual Digital Signs In Stores

This is a concept video from Mastercard and partners making the suggesting that department store shoppers can walk around and make shopping purchases with the help of digital signs that are only virtually there – via augmented reality.

The concept is being demo’d at a payments trade show this week in Las Vegas by the credit card company.

Says a press release:

Mastercard unveiled an augmented reality shopping experience today that for the first time incorporates Masterpass and Identity Check Mobile with iris authentication for safe and seamless payments.  Developed with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and ODG (Osterhout Design Group), it delivers photorealistic augmented reality and provides consumers the ultimate customized, security-focused shopping experience.

Augmented reality has the potential to reshape the retail environment, making it more immersive and efficient. This new AR experience from Mastercard will not only let shoppers view digital representations of products before they commit to a purchase, but also learn more about what they are buying, see additional options not available in the physical location and get instant recommendations or other information relevant to their unique experience. When done shopping, users can pay for items using Masterpass, which will first authenticate the user’s iris using Qualcomm Technologies’ iris authentication. The shopper then selects a card from their Masterpass-enabled wallet and completes the purchase by selecting the Masterpass button on the screen. Items can be taken home from the store or shipped, depending on availability.

“At Mastercard, we are seeing major shifts in how commerce is conducted, as people lead increasingly connected, digital lifestyles,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships, Mastercard. “As the physical and digital worlds blend together, we are focused on developing solutions that provide merchants with the ability to accept payments across all technology platforms possible—in-store, in-app, online, and in AR and VR—to help drive how people will experience shopping and payments in the future.”

Mastercard, ODG and Qualcomm Technologies developed this prototype technology as a proof of concept that may help retailers find new ways of enhancing the in-store shopping experience and generating incremental sales by sharing relevant content and information to the shopper while they are shopping.  

  • Masterpass, the digital payment service from Mastercard, and Identity Check Mobile, which enables users making purchases to authenticate with physical traits including fingerprint, facial and voice recognition software;
  • ODG’s expertise to lead the development of the AR shopping experience, as well as its award-winning extra-wide-field-of-view R-9 smartglasses with enhanced iris tracking cameras; and
  • Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform running the Snapdragon XR SDK and iris authentication technology with liveliness detection for a superior authentication experience.

I dunno. Maybe I’m just old. But those AR glasses need to be far, far less cumbersome before I’d imagine many wealthy women wandering a Saks 5th Avenue with them on. Right now they look like the sunglasses really old ladies fit over their already big prescription glasses. I don’t see this sort of thing catching on unless the tech is friction-free and not even vaguely embarrassing.  Plus I thought high-end places like Saks and Nieman-Marcus were all about 1 to 1 customer service, not tech?

I think I might be more interested in this sort of thing in a big home furnishings place so that I could shop without a sales person hounding me or stalking me like a commission-starved wolf.

Time will tell … Google Glass was going to change everything, and look how that went.

Projects: AR Brings Marine Life To Ljubljana’s Sidewalks Via DOOH Campaign

Here’s a nice use of augmented reality on digital OOH transit shelter screens in Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana. Not a new idea, but a good take on the concept. Think this is for a communications company.


UK’s Lightvert Launches Crowdfunding Effort; Touts ECHO Tech As New Kind Of AR

The UK start-up Lightvert has started calling its unique tech a new type of augmented reality – probably to help people wrap their heads around it – as part of a just-launched equity crowdfunding campaign.

The technology, dubbed ECHO, is now out of the proof of concept and ready for commercial application – with development bankrolled (the company hopes) via a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube.

The technology creates huge digital billboards that only exist in the vision of onlookers. The company has come up with a way to use something called persistence of vision to safely print an image directly on the retina of viewers. But only momentarily.

You can hear CEO Daniel Siden talk about the tech and his company in this 16:9 podcast from late last year.

Think of it this way: When you see something bright at night, and then look away, that bright image is still there in your eyes, for a heartbeat or two. So what if that was a logo?

Lightvert describes its tech this way:

A narrow strip of reflective material is fixed to the side of the building and a high-speed light scanner projects light off of a reflector and towards the viewer. This creates large-scale images that are ‘captured’ for a brief moment in the viewer’s eye through a ‘persistence of vision’ effect. The images are fleeting, but striking, prompting viewers to stop, engage with the image and share the experience.