Fancy Stargate shopping?

Going through Stargate portals between worlds is something you normally associate with sci-fi movies rather than supermarket shopping.

But truth is stranger than fiction, as I discovered trialling Adobe’s shopping experience in virtual reality. Adobe is hosting a two-day symposium in Sydney, and virtual grocery shopping is one of the experiences on offer.

You put on a virtual reality headset (in this case an HTC Vive Pro) and open the fridge door in VR to discover a shimmering portal that beckons you to walk through it. I usually don’t walk into my fridge at home, but I made today an exception.

It seemed a step into uncertainty but all went well. After entering the portal, the shimmering cleared to reveal a futuristic virtual supermarket. I was now shopping in what seemed 200 years in the future.

So what is this virtual shopping experience like?

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I was first asked questions such as which family members am I shopping for, what days am I shopping for, and whether my shopping goal is savings and reward, or health and happiness. Hopefully the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Benches in front of me were then magically populated with vegetables, cheeses, breads, and other relevant products that met my nutrition goals.

As with the real world, I could select items (but with virtual hands) and put them in a shopping basket.

During my shopping spree, at one stage, another shimmering Stargate like portal opened. When I stepped into it, I was in an orchard hand-picking mangoes before stepping back into the supermarket and adding them to the cart.

Finally, I was offered a choice of recipes that could be made with the grocery items that I had selected. The system then altered the quantities and weights of those items so that I would have enough ingredients to make those recipes.

Virtual reality is certainly a fun way to shop. If you’re a bit of a sci-fi nut, you can indulge in the romanticism of Stargate portals, formally known as Einstein–Rosen bridge portals as you add the eggs and cheese. You certainly feel invigorated and this is great PR.

In reality, if I’m not going to a physical store, I’d settle for a comfy couch, ticking boxes on a list of product options available for home delivery from the likes of Coles and Woolworths. I’d have a notebook on my lap.

It makes me again realise that VR is a wonderful medium for gaming, education, promotion and motivation. But that step of putting on a big headset to buy groceries seems a step too far, although for a one-off promotion, it is fine.

There was however a good takeaway from this experience. I liked selecting vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients that I wanted to consume and have a computer generate a list of suggested recipes in an online shopping experience. The idea it would calculate the quantities of each product I needed and add them to my basket is appealing.

That’s a smart shopping idea that could work in real reality.

Chris Griffith appears each Wednesday at 6.30pm on, on Sky Business Channel. Published in The Australian newspaper.

Posted in News.

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