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Summary:

The new car year is fast approaching but not every model is ready to be produced. That presented a problem for Nissan and its 2013 Pathfinder. The solution? Use the designs to create a virtual reality experience of the vehicle with Microsoft’s Kinect as the interface.

kinect-pathfinder

Microsoft’s innovative Kinect accessory has made the leap from video games to robots and even 3-D human holograms. Now it’s being used to sell cars that don’t yet exist. Nissan needed to find a way let potential buyers see its 2013 Pathfinder, but it didn’t have the actual cars in showrooms or ready for auto shows. Kinect to rescue!

While seeing an actual vehicle you can touch or sit in would be ideal, I like what Nissan worked out with Microsoft. The two partnered to create an interactive, virtual reality experience using 3-D graphics of the new Pathfinder combined with voie and gesture-based controls. For example, you can “reach out” and open the door to the Pathfinder by simulating the gesture in front of a Kinect sensor. Walk towards the Kinect and you “enter” the vehicle where you can look around inside. See how it works here:

Someday we’ll likely to use a holodeck such as envisioned in the Star Trek: TNG series where we’re surrounded by interactive sensors and holograms as if they we were somewhere else. For now, however, Kinect is showing a glimpse of that future with a virtual car shopping experience. Besides, I’d give up on the holodeck idea if we could use the Kinect to accelerate or completely remove the car price haggling experience!

Interested in the 2013 Pathfinder experience with Kinect? Nissan will be rolling out the Pathfinder Kinect Experience to 16 dealerships in 13 states, so keep an eye out in your local area.

  1. Imagine tech like this being used for healthcare and patient-doctor interaction from remote locations! Tech like this will be demoed at an upcoming event co-hosted by eCairn and Orange-France (the telecom) in San Francisco on Sept 17th. It’s free for bloggers. Email me if you’re interested! arthur at ecairn dot com

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  2. Thanks for this article, Kevin, it’s great to see that the auto industry is embracing 3D technology. It will be interesting to see how consumers respond to this new car buying experience, as well as how it affects Nissan. Based on where 3D capabilities are today and how the tech is improving, I predict that other industries will latch onto this sales concept. We’ve already seen IKEA take a 3D approach to its catalog, so I think we are at a turning point for the possibilities of 3D tech, and we will start to see more innovative uses come into play across different business models. – Lauren Schreiber, Infinite Z http://zspace.com

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