Kinectpowered movementmimicking mannequins are cool rather creepy

first_imgThere are still some things in the world that you look at and think, “Technology will never change that.” That is becoming more and more of an invalid statement, as virtually everything we see and interact with is subject to a high-tech makeover. Case in point — the “Marionettebot”.Have you ever been wandering through the aisles of your local trendy clothing store, looked at one of the mannequins and thought that your shopping experience would be so much better if that mannequin could copy your movements?Probably not, but now that the idea is in your head, you can’t stop thinking about it, can you? That’s where United Arrows comes in. It’s a popular fashion outlet in Japan, and it decided to bring the lifeless, emotionless clothes-modeling figures that we have all come to know, and accidentally ask bathroom directions from, to life.Using Microsoft’s Kinect technology, along with a series of 16 wires inserted into the mannequin, passers-by can look directly into the proto-android’s face, flail their arms and shake their hips, and watch those movements copied in real-time.The chain has dubbed the product the “Marionettebot”. Its primary purpose is to drum up attention outside of its flagship store in Shibuya, Tokyo. After all, it’s not often you see an interactive window display.You know what would be awesome? With just a little bit more work, this kind of technology could be used for something more than just mannequins. Imagine a future where companies no longer need to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to have a silent, gaunt person walk down a runway — the Marionettebot 2.0 could do the same job, with the diva attitude just requiring a few more minutes or programming.But perhaps that’s just a dream. For now, Marionettebot is little more than a ploy for publicity. Five years ago, though, if someone had told you that Xbox technology would be at the forefront of a high-end fashion boutique, you probably would have called that person crazy. So regardless of how big its impact is, it’s still pretty cool.last_img