Since the less-than-earth-shattering development of the self-checkout line, grocery shopping hasn’t come a long way, technologically speaking. But Whole Foods is looking into creating a new kind of shopping experience, thanks to a new smart cart developed by Austin-based Chaotic Moon--one that pulls the lowly shopping cart into the 21st century with the help of a Microsoft Kinect.
We’ll let the video demo below speak for itself, but briefly: Chaotic Moon has imbued its smart shopping cart with puppy-like brains via a Windows 8 tablet and vision via an Xbox Kinect setup. That means you can upload your shopping list to the cart and then walk around the store as the shopping cart follows you (did we mention this shopping cart is self-propelled?). As you place items in the cart, you scan their bar codes. The tablet ticks each item off your list, alerts you if you accidentally grab the wrong item, and--best of all--checks you out automatically when you’re done, no waiting necessary.
The project is just getting underway--as you’ll see below, all the kinks haven’t quite been worked out of the system--but Whole Foods is already conducting a trial run of the smart carts. That should shorten the amount of time shoppers spend in the store and ease the overall shopping experience, though it won’t make that organic hormone-free grass-fed locally-raised USDA Grade AAA dinner any easier on the pocketbook.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.