Kinect-cart... A prototype Kinect-enabled Shopping cart

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Description

Today's inspirational project shows off a usage of the Kinect that you might not have ever imagined... I mean who'd have thought of mashing up a Kinect with a...

Kinect-enabled shopping cart is smarter than the shopper

Microsoft has just demoed a Kinect-enabled prototype shopping cart designed to take the guesswork out of your trip to the grocery store. All of the guesswork. In fact, all you are required to do is upload a shopping list and place items in the cart.

The cart utilizes the Kinect and other sensors to 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. The Kinect Cart will tell gently — and slightly disapprovingly — verbally remind you of your mistake.

As you are scanning your items you are also being rung up so (in theory) forget the long check out lines. Just grab a bag if you haven't brought your own.

Here's the thing. Not only is the cart smart enough to check your list, scan your items, ring you out and converse with you — it is motorized. That means the cart will follow you as you walk down the aisle.

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Project Information URL: http://dvice.com/archives/2012/02/kinect-enabled-1.php

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The Discussion

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    USArcher

    Cool prototype.  Didn't see it in the demo but I imagine produce would be a significant issue with such a cart/checkout system.  While I'd be tempted to build a scale into the cart I think it might be more cost effective and reliable to have the cart interface with a fixed digital scale and perhaps use Kinect's optics for "produce" recognition.  Beyond this, the biggest technical issue imo is how you build-in reliable/upgradeable shoplifting safeguards without doubling unit costs.  You can imagine how much easier it is to secure the stationary self-checkout registers we have today (simple weight checks, fixed cameras in addition to human attendants).  I hope the project continues to get funded though.

    One fundamental change I would make to this prototype right off the bat would be to lose the robotic wheels, place the scanner on the front-edge of the cart (in view of the Kinect optics)...to maximize space for merchandise and even allow customers to immediately bag their items. Green LEDs in the handlebar would indicate to personnel that cart items are cleared to leave the building with the customer.

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