Courtesy of GeekWire: here’s a pretty interesting demo of the “shopping cart of the future” being developed in prototype form for Whole Foods. This shopping cart uses Microsoft Kinect and voice recognition (and other tech) to maintain the shopper’s list, scan products, follow you around the store and check out.
This is just the latest in a series of “smart shopping carts” that offer convenience and various marketing and CRM opportunities. The screen could prompt with coupons or ads, for example. There’s something both compelling and horrifying about this — like a supermarket version of R2D2 following you around the store.
While it’s unlikely that this particular cart will see mass production, some version of all this will likely come to market at some point. One can easily imagine many humorous and awkward scenarios as the cart announced your purchases to the world: toiletries, feminine hygiene products, condoms, medicines, junk food, etc. I could imagine that the cart could even be made to shame you when you scanned something unhealthy.
The GeekWire piece also points out Microsoft reports “more than 300 companies are working on commercial applications for Kinect on Windows.” I’m sure there will be some pretty interesting applications.
Four years ago I wrote about another Microsoft smart grocery cart initiative involving RFID tags: Microsoft And MediaCart Bring Ad Targeting To Grocery Store Shopping Carts.