Apple Pay hasn’t made the checkout process faster than credit cards ever were, but a new kiosk from the European startup Think&Go could make both means of payment a lot quicker.
The company's "Connected Screens" technology crosses an interactive sign with a checkout counter. It features various offers—from donations to the Red Cross to tickets to the musical Cats—laid out in a grid. To buy anything you see, you simply place your card or phone against the tile, and it checks you out in a second, literally.
The magic at play really isn’t so complicated. The kiosk consists of a standard LCD touch screen that displays all of the deals. But behind each product on the display lives a radio receiver, the same invisible technology that receives NFC payments from modern credit cards and mobile phones. Since these readers only work within a centimeter, it’s possible to design the visual UI with rigid constraints, so that users tap their cards and phones exactly where they need to activate the NFC and instantly buy something. Basically, Think&Go has created buttons that can only be activated by your method of payment.
This clever mish-mash of technology can eliminate layer of menus, and in doing so, the company believes that its screens will make buying things in the physical world a lot more promising again.
"We feel Connected Screens create a new distribution channel, beside e-commerce (web) and m-commerce (mobile)," Think&Go CEO Vincent Berge writes via email. "It is a new space where impulse buying is very strong. We call it Screen-Commerce."
By design, you won't be able to customize your order very much—any additional menus get in the way of speed. But even still, it’s easy to imagine these kiosks places where you're happy to settle for off-the-rack options: in fast food, parking garages, airports, and that little section of Ikea near the checkout counters with the print art and cheap batteries.