Virtual reality (VR) is an incredibly exciting technology. While it's currently mostly making waves in the gaming industry, this emerging technology has the potential to be so much more if developers start thinking out of the box more. With every passing day, VR is doing a really good job of convincing us that it's not just a fad and that it's here to stay. While it's basically impossible to predict how will virtual reality solutions of the future look like, we can at least point out one thing that they'll probably entail – paying for goods and services by nodding your head.
In fact, that's pretty much what the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is currently working on. The company which has recently invested in mapping services, payment solutions, news outlets, communications apps, film production, music streaming, and Internet-connected SUVs has just announced that it's extending its resources to virtual reality. This Wednesday, the firm demonstrated VR Pay, its very own payment app designed for VR headsets. The concept behind this product is actually rather simple: if you don't like going to actual stores but also think that shopping online is too impersonal, you can get the best of both worlds by putting on a VR headset and browse virtual malls at your own pace. Seeing how this is the virtual world in which your headset already knows your credit card number, there's no need to go along with the most boring part of shopping – waiting in the checkout line. Instead, if you see something you like, Alibaba will allow you to buy it by simply pointing at it or selecting it in some other way and – like nodding. Sure, you'll still have to authorize your payments but if you don't want to be bothered with passwords, you'll be able to simply stare at a specified point for a few seconds and the eye-tracking technology will let the app know you're certain about your purchase.
While the very concept of VR Pay is a complete novelty, its announcement isn't completely surprising. Namely, it was just last year that Alibaba debuted a payment solution based on facial recognition technology which allows users to pay for goods and services by taking a selfie. So, VR Pay is actually on the lower end of the scale of bizarre payment apps made by Alibaba.