The first successful network of interactive kiosks used for commercial purposes was a project developed by the shoe retailer Florsheim Shoe Co., led by their visionary executive VP, Harry Bock, installed circa 1985.The interactive kiosk was created, manufactured and customized by By Video Inc. The network of over 600 kiosks provided images and video promotion for customers who wished to purchase shoes that were not available in the retail location.The hardware (including microcomputer, display system, touchscreen) were designed and built by By Video, while other components (like the CRT, floppy disk, printer, keyboard and physical housing) were sourced from other vendors.Interactive kiosks are typically placed in high foot traffic settings such as shops, hotel lobbies or airports.Integration of technology allows kiosks to perform a wide range of functions, evolving into self-service kiosks.
The plasma display panel was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Donald L. Lappe's kiosk, called The Plato Hotline allowed students and visitors to find movies, maps, directories, bus schedules, extracurricular activities and courses.
When it debuted in the U of Illinois Student Union in April 1977, more than 30,000 students, teachers and visitors stood in line during its first 6 weeks, to try their hand at a "personal computer" for the first time.
Style, size and color could be selected, and the product paid for on the kiosk itself.
The transaction was sent to the Florsheim mainframe in St, Louis, MO, via dialup lines, for next-day home or store delivery via Federal Express.
The first self-service, interactive kiosk was developed in 1977 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by a pre-med student, Murray Lappe.
The content was created on the PLATO computer system and accessible by plasma touch screen interface.