Photo: Toshiba Tec Corporation
tech

Floating hologram registers coming to Japanese convenience stores

22 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Japanese convenience stores are known for being convenient, but now they’re set to become even more so, thanks to a new trial of non-contact self-checkouts coming to select 7-Eleven stores next month.

Dubbed the “Digi POS“, the new registers are said to feature the “world’s first” non-contact/aerial display technology for POS cash registers. On 28 January, 7-Eleven shared a first look at the new hologram registers with a video showing how they work, which you can check out below.

Aerial displays are still relatively rare, and are mainly used for reception services in hotels and offices, or as digital signage. However, according to Toshiba Tec, who helmed the six-company project, this is the first time the technology has been used in a POS system.

As you can see from the video above, the hologram cash registers are incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is scan the product you want to buy…

Japan-hologram-cash-.jpg

▼ …and then the touch-panel register will pop up, visible from the user’s angle but invisible to others.

Japan-hologram-cash-.jpg

You can then continue to scan other products or select some additional items like a hot or cold beverage from the “Seven Cafe” section, which is the self-service beverage machine at the front counter.

▼ In this demonstration, the user selects a regular-sized hot coffee and a large-sized hot coffee.

Japan-hologram-cash-.jpg

After pressing the “OK” button, the user is taken to the confirmation screen to confirm the order before pressing the orange “proceed to payment” button.

Japan-hologram-cash-.jpg

Then all that’s left to do is choose a cashless payment method, which will then require you to scan your card or smartphone. And that’s it — purchase complete.

Japan-hologram-cash-.jpg

The floating touch panel registers were developed as a joint project between six different companies: Toshiba Tec, which created the POS payment system and is responsible for its installation and assembly in stores; 7-Eleven, who will equip its stores with the product and assist customers with its use while also verifying its effectiveness; Asukanet Development, which manufactures and sells plates for aerial displays; Kanda Kogyo Development, which manufactures and sells aerial display modules; Mitsui Chemicals Development, which manufactures and sells the adhesive “Structbond” used for aerial display plates; and Mitsui Bussan Plastic, which is involved in aerial display module sales and development.

▼ The floating register consists of a flat display, an optical element (aerial display plate), and sensor modules to detect finger movements.

Toshiba-Tec.jpg

The hologram registers will appear as an introductory trial at six 7-Eleven branches in Tokyo, starting from 1 February. Items that can be purchased are currently limited to in-store products, excluding items like alcohol, cigarettes, stamps, postcards, and services like courier deliveries, utility bill payments, cash vouchers and account recharges.

The aim of these contactless registers is to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, although it also has the potential to reduce the workload of staff in future. Here’s hoping customers use the system honestly so we can see more of these terminals pop up at convenience stores around the country. If not, they can always install a one-eyed samurai or a polite android to keep an eye on you.

Source: Toshiba Tec Corporation via Hachima Kikou

Insert images: YouTube/セブン&アイ・ホールディングス 公式チャンネル

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Revolutionary new A.I. self-checkout system in Japan calculates all your items with one glance

-- How to use Japanese convenience store Lawson’s self-checkout terminals

-- Japanese bakeries can now use a Robocop-style bread recognition checkout system

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Will these be multilingual or will you have to be fluent in Japanese to shop in a konbini?

The continued obsession with 'non-contact' is going to cause psychological issues in Japan.

I wonder how many, outside work, speak to no one other than the staff in their local konbini.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I can just imagine an elderly person with a bit of a shaky hand having a really terrible time trying to maneuver this machine. Why not just have a regular push button machine and a bottle of disinfectant beside it?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I truly hope I’m there when a drunk dude tries to use this, it will be hilarious.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well, at least it is better than the touch panets you have to use (in the middle of the pandemic) at 7 eleven, much more hygienic

I wonder how many, outside work, speak to no one other than the staff in their local konbini.

Any stop with self check-out (7-eleven, Family Mart) require zero interaction with the staff. Which may not be good for costumers and staff, but probably very good for business.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Having access to the internet made me an expert in touch panel technology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the one hand, this is very cool - very sci-fi chic. On the other hand, I can see some people like the elderly struggling to use this. Also, will the interface be in different languages?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

purple_depressed_baconToday  09:19 am JST

On the one hand, this is very cool - very sci-fi chic. On the other hand, I can see some people like the elderly struggling to use this. Also, will the interface be in different languages?

There will always be someone around or a "Help" button to summon assistance. As for language, there's a good chance that English will be available though from what I can see the machines seem to be fairly intuitive.

Many major supermarkets in Japan have self-checkout, sometimes bi-lingual, and there is always someone on duty watching to see if anyone needs help.

I wonder if self-checkout machines in the US or the UK for example have an option to switch the screen language to Japanese?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

GBR48

I wonder how many, outside work, speak to no one other than the staff in their local konbini.

Did a quick survey of a company I do some work for and discovered most workers don’t even talk to their coworkers.

They’re buried in their computers trying to get some mythological work quota done.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why not just have a regular push button machine and a bottle of disinfectant beside it?

Why not just have an employee doing an employee's job, rather than asking the customer to do an employee's job?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Many major supermarkets in Japan have self-checkout, sometimes bi-lingual, and there is always someone on duty watching to see if anyone needs help.

I walk right past them, and go to a regular cashier, just as I did back in the US. If they offered me a discount for using them, as I would be doing the work of an employee, I might consider it.

I wonder if self-checkout machines in the US or the UK for example have an option to switch the screen language to Japanese?

I didn't really notice, as I hardly ever used them. But, they must have had at least Spanish available. They may have had Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, as well, as most of the ATM's in my area had those choices. I imagine it depends on the area. California, and Silicon Valley in particular, where I was living, has a large Asian and Hispanic population. My home town, NYC, also had them. I would imagine that places like Chicago, L.A., Seattle, etc also have multiple language choices in their self-checkouts and ATMs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That's pretty sci-fi cool but lacks something that we humans need, the tactile experience.

We lost part of that when switching from gara-kei to smartphones but at least we can still tap on the screen. But holograms; I don't see people really getting into that experience.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Short people will have problems with this tech.

Zichi - line of the day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bfyS-S-IJs

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Personally I often have trouble getting touch screens, like the ticket vending machines in stations, to register my finger so it sounds great to me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

also has the potential to reduce the workload of staff in future

And reduce staff.

Oh well, I suppose they can retrain for the maintenance demand

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cool.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OMG this is so cool! real life Dennō Coil XD

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" wonder if self-checkout machines in the US or the UK for example have an option to switch the screen language to Japanese?"

Can answer for the UK only:

NO.

There's no Japanese language available at hospitals, job centres, immigration office(s), etc.

To sum up: the Japanese get NO language help over here.

That doesn't stop many gaijin moaners in Japan though...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Short people will have problems with this tech.

Tall people also?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 although it also has the potential to reduce the workload of staff in future.

No! It has the potential to reduce number of staff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Peeping Tom.

1.35bn people speak English globally. 120m speak Japanese, 118.7m of them in Japan. The effort Japan makes on its trains, with its signage and generally, to accommodate the English language is impressive, appreciated and a philosophical rejection of the historical 'Japan only' mentality. A populist reversion to isolationism would damage the Japanese economy long term and erase its hard-won, global 'soft power'.

This is a prototype and most likely intended to reduce staffing/costs. It is likely to have an 'English' button somewhere down the line, but tech is starting to exclude people globally with app-only, subscriber-only and digital-only services. That is why people become nervous about these things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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