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McDonald's opens branch in Singapore with VR and Kinect-powered fun

The new restaurant is also brimming with wireless (and wired) chargers for your phone.

McDonald's

When you think of the monolithic fast-food empire that is McDonald's, chances are "high-tech" isn't the phrase that springs to mind. The company is trying to change that -- at least, its Singapore division is.

A new McDonald's branch in the island country's East Coast district is latching on to some recent tech trends to add some novelty to the restaurant chain.

The store has kiosks installed with custom Google Cardboard headsets for customers to use. Unfortunately these allow only for a 360-degree VR tour of the outlet you're already sitting in -- hardly a terribly exciting use of VR technology.

To keep kids entertained, there's an interactive shadow wall powered by Microsoft Kinect. Children, and adults for that matter, stand in front of a wall and control various shadow characters from McDonald's advertising lore, including Grimace and The Hamburglar.

But the real star of the fast-food restaurant of the future isn't VR or Kinect, it's smartphone chargers. The outlet is filled with both wireless chargers, which work with any Qi-enabled device, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the Google Nexus 6, and wired chargers too. It may be the least gimmicky addition, but I found it to be the most useful when I took a tour of the branch.

In fact, McDonald's outlets around the world have been integrating new technology for years, such as the touchscreen cashiers. McDonald's Sweden may be the most ahead of the curve, earlier this year introducing a Happy Meal box that turns into a VR headset.