How this Tokyo retailer used Kinect to turn mannequins into marionettes

You can always count on Japan for the weirdest inventions out there.

The latest head-scratcher involves Microsoft’s Kinect and a Tokyo retailer shop called United Arrows. The store created the Marionettebot, which is essentially a Kinect hack that combines the motion-sensing camera with display mannequins.

The video gives you a better idea of this crazy and creepy invention. Shoppers can control the mannequins, which are outfitted with strings and a small motor, by simply standing in front of the show window and moving as they please. The store even added side-by-side male and female mannequins, allowing couples to test their “motion chemistry score” and receive a discount coupon in exchange.

Be sure to check out the latest from Todd Bishop, who spent a day at Microsoft learning about the company’s future plans with Kinect and how it envisions every surface becoming a potential display thanks to new screen technologies and projection systems.

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft’s technical strategy chief: ‘More experimentation’ between research, products