Tomorrow's vending machines may scan your face

Will you try on outfits with a Kinect or let a vending machine scan your face? At the 2012 National Retail Federation Convention and Expo in New York, new tech aims to change the way you shop.

Who needs to bother with a fitting room when you can use a Kinect to model outfits?

Between pitches for mobile payments, new self-checkout machines, and virtual customer service assistants, technology rules the show floor at the 101st Annual National Retail Federation Convention and Expo in New York, taking place this week.

This year it's possible to try on a new dress -- with matching purse, belt and jewelry -- in just a few seconds using a Microsoft Kinect camera. You become a paper doll on the television monitor with FaceCake's Swivel, a virtual dressing room that will be introduced in some stores this year in the third quarter (no word yet on which stores). A home option is also in the works for programming in your personal wardrobe.

Planar showed off transparent LCD screens built within a drink fridge, turning a boring Gatorade cooler into an eye-catching animated marketing tool.

Intel worked with Kraft foods on a touch-screen vending machine that can detect the age and gender of the user. It's currently being used to promote a new line of Jell-O pudding to adults, but it can also play games and serve as a typical vending machine -- even displaying nutritional facts before you buy.

And the line at the self-checkout kiosk may just get smoother with technology from Wincor Nixdorf. The 360-degree product scanner doesn't need a barcode. It detects the product no matter how it's placed on the conveyor belt. Scheduled to hit U.S. supermarkets in April, humans are still required for scanning those non-packaged goods, like fruits and veggies.

The majority of exhibits at NRF's show focus around the safe and practical: better software to track customer data, new mobile commerce solutions, and shiny new cash registers. But going beyond the retail bread and butter, the biggest crowds gather around the innovations shaking up the typical consumer experience.

Check out some of the show's highlights in the video above, and let us know your take on how tech has changed your shopping habits.

 

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