Woolworths hopes its 3D blob cameras, which measure the shape of fingers and noses and allow customers to make boffins think they’re shopping, will spur sales in the Christmas period. The cameras were invented at Wodonga Hospital in 2006 by two young surgeons at the Wodonga Surgery Centre, after learning of a patient with a fibrous claw known as Thelonious “The Doodle”. Dr Andrew O’Keefe, who co-founded the Wodonga surgery centre in 2000, said it took 40 hours to perfect the 3D camera, which fits on laptops inside the electronic hand holders of 400,000 laminate-plated and stamped stamps, before it was set up. He and his colleagues built a hinge to handle the weight of a 3D-mapped part, forcing the camera to close when full. “Being able to share our technology with businesses means we can share our insights with everyone who needs to look at something,” Dr O’Keefe said. The cameras were used to make two fake cakes in the Butterman’s Festival at Wodonga, which were sold to customers to demonstrate the technique. That was followed by a stint working with Google on 3D voice in the Google booth during the TCAW. Dr O’Keefe and Fiona Nobbs, a pioneer of 3D scanning, trialled the system at Wodonga Hospital but lost their funding after the Hepburn Health Centre started using the technology in its clinic. “In the end, we were unable to receive investment funding because it was for research,” Dr O’Keefe said. “The previous regime did not want to take a risk or invest. “We’ve spent $750,000, but it’s only a small investment and if this continues to be successful, we will look at a larger scale.” Woolworths has installed the 3D camera in front of 1000 Tasmanian customers who went to Watson’s at the weekend. Customers wearing 3D glasses have used the glasses to place their hands in a smooth triangular shape, watch the camera track their movement and record it with the camera lens. Woolworths chief executive Gordon Cairns and chairman John Mullen said the cameras had tremendous potential to help when selling things. “The camera is enabled by wearable technology and I suspect that people will use the cameras to capture and record everyday experiences, using the glasses to record hours of video at a time,” Mr Cairns said. “Wedding photos may be on show at a wedding or welcomed at a business meeting. Achieving this will not only help sell stuff, but will also help researchers discover new uses for the technology.”

https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.n…