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