Innovation

New for the holidays: AR shopping experience of the future, paid for with your eyeballs

Mastercard has unveiled a retail experience that provides additional context for shoppers with photorealistic overlays and eye-scanning authentication.

Mastercard debuted a new augmented reality (AR) shopping experience on Monday, offering digital views of available products, and a secure payment system that uses iris scanning for authentication.

Using the R-9 smartglasses from ODG (Osterhout Design Group), users will see digital representations of merchandise overlaid onto their field of view. The system will also display additional information such as the item's price, its size, and its color, according to a Mastercard press release.

In addition to receiving information about the specific products themselves, the new AR system will also provide recommendations for other products, along with other relevant information. In one example, a shopper looks at a mannequin and sees not only the price for the individual items, but the total cost of the whole outfit.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy template (Tech Pro Research)

Once a user has settled on what they wish to purchase, they can make that payment through the smartglasses themselves, the release said. Payments are processed through Masterpass, Mastercard's digital wallet/mobile commerce platform.

What's even more interesting is how the system processes payments—users are authenticated through iris scans. This is accomplished with the help of two particular piece of technology: Mastercard's Identity Check biometric security platform and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.

Mastercard's Identity Check helps leverage biometrics and other identifiers for online payments. The Snapdragon 835, which powers the ODG smartglasses, features hardware that actually supports the iris scanning.

"As the physical and digital worlds blend together, we are focused on developing solutions that provide merchants with the ability to accept payments across all technology platforms possible—in-store, in-app, online, and in AR and VR—to help drive how people will experience shopping and payments in the future," Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of Digital Partnerships at Mastercard, said in the release.

The goal of the new AR system was to help retailers improve the in-store shopping experiences for customers, the release said. And it could provide additional revenue through add-ons or similar products recommended to users.

Ralph Osterhout, founder and CEO at ODG, also said in the press release that the partnership could help display "the transformative nature of augmented reality in the retail space."

Mastercard will be demoing the experience at the Money2020 in Las Vegas, and it is considering a pilot program at a Saks Fifth Avenue retail location sometime in 2018.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Mastercard has partnered with ODG to create an AR-based shopping experience that gives customers more info on retail products while providing a unique way to pay.
  2. Users will be able to authenticate for payments with iris scanning, leveraging the hardware of the Snapdragon 835 chip and the Mastercard Identity Check platform.
  3. The system could help provide a better customer experience for in-store shopping, while driving revenue with relevant add-on purchases.

Also see

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Image: ODG

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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