Starting this week, six 7-11 stores in Tokyo are trialing a new form of self-checkout machine: An "aerial display," i.e. a holographic image that behaves like a conventional touchscreen—that you don't actually touch. Instead, you bring your finger over to where your eye perceives a button, and sensors register a button press.
The Digi POS system, as it's called, was developed by Toshiba Tech Co. They refer to the system as an aerial display:
"In general, aerial displays are mainly used for hotel and office building reception areas, as digital signage, etc., but this is the world's first trial with aerial display cash registers," the company writes. "With this technology, we have realized a cash register screen that appears to be floating in the air, yet can be operated in the same way as a touchscreen."
To those standing off to the side, the user appears to be poking empty space:
From the user's POV, of course, the screen is visible:
Here's what it looks like in action:
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The point of the technology, the company says, is to "create sales opportunities by saving space at the cashier counter, and to provide safety and security through complete non-contact."