February 29, 2012
Kinect Powers Shopping Carts Of The Future In Austin
Earlier this month, organic grocery retailer Whole Foods began rolling out shopping carts with a mess of electronics attached to the handles. It might look like a way to distract your children while wandering the aisles, but the cart instead has grander goals.
Called the Smarter Cart, the next generation in shopping comes with a Windows 8 tablet attached to the cart´s handlebars, and a UPC scanner. Using a motion-controlled Kinect, and RFID, (Radio-frequency identification) the tablet can read items off of a smart-card shopping list, and then make recommendations to shoppers, using a speech and voice recognition as the interface.
This self-driving test cart is only offered in Austin for now and has been tested by roughly 30 customers, but that number is expected to grow when the software developers, Austin-based Chaotic Moon, will begin testing more than one cart at a time at the grocery store starting in April, writes Robert McMillan for Wired magazine.
Smarter Cart, in its current iteration, has the ability to frustrate users also. The sensors read what you are placing in the cart and check whether the item matches your pre-planned menu and any dietary constrains.
If you´ve blindly placed an item in the cart that doesn´t match with your downloaded list, forget about it, write CNet´s Edward Moyer. The Smarter Cart will tell you gently, and slightly disapprovingly, about your mistake.
Chaotic Moon says the project is literally weeks old, and that was apparent in the demo, which included a couple of false starts where the sensor didn´t precisely identify the item, writes Todd Bishop for GeekWire.
Smarter Cart is an interesting application that shows what outside developers can do now that a Kinect software development kit has been released for Windows, expanding the sensor beyond the Xbox 360 game console.
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