MasterCard are in the process of developing a prototype of an all new innovation in contactless payments which will allow consumers to make purchases by waving at their TV screen while sitting on their couch.
MasterCard Labs recently held a media event in Manhattan to demonstrate to the prototype QkR application which is being hailed as the latest in shopping convenience. The QkR application is equipped with the same near-field communication (NFC) hardware which is currently used to allow contactless payment via smartphones.
However, its most astounding feature comes into play when couple with Xbox Kinect. The application works with Microsoft’s Xbox Kinnect camera to allow consumers to make purchases using hand gestures. The feature is not just limited to purchasing directly from commercials.
It is also capable of reading designated gestures. For example, if users make the ‘I’m Hungry’ gesture then they will have access to fast food menus from which they can order. This gives consumers the ability to pull up shopping menus at any time. The gestures can also be replaced with voice commands.
It sounds like something you would see in a science fiction movie, but the demonstration showed a working prototype which allowed commercials to include a ‘wave to buy’ instruction which can be used to purchase the product in question. A writer for Gizmodo, Mario Aguilar witnessed the demonstration which used an infomercial for a shirt. Aguilar said,
A transparent gray shopping dialogue popped up with fields for size, color 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.
However, some consumer advocacy groups have warned that if this technology becomes available it will make it all too easy for consumers to rack up unmanageable levels of credit card debt. This concern is greater fueled by a comment from MasterCard senior software designer Stephen Elder regarding the feature which will allow purchases through television commercials. Elder said,
It doesn’t necessarily even have to be something that the programming is selling.
MasterCard say there is no time frame for introducing a commercially available version of the prototype. At the moment, the prototypes are nothing more than a preview of how the mobile payments industry could evolve in the future. In order to market the application, MasterCard would need to get the TV broadcasters on board as they would be required to add the appropriate signals and meta data to their broadcasts.