Whole Foods Using Kinect to Build Talkative Shopping Cart

Whole Foods Using Kinect to Build Talkative Shopping Cart

I can't let you buy that, Dave.

Since its release, the depth- and voice-sensitive systems which form the basis of Kinect have been used to build a wide variety of assistive technologies. This, however, is a new one: Whole Foods has decided to use Kinect to create a talkative shopping cart which pursues and assists you as you shop.

According to Microsoft, which is developing the "cart of tomorrow" tech in a partnership with Austin-based developer Chaotic Moon, this project is barely weeks old. No word was given on when, or if, the cart will ever appear in actual Whole Foods stores.

The video to the right shows the nascent mobile HAL unit greeting its master and attempting to follow him across a small space, no doubt using its Kinect sensors to keep track of where he is and whether or not he's moving. The user then scans some items into the cart, eliciting an announcement for each product from the vehicle. The cart gently reminds the user that he has a preference for gluten-free foods when he attempts to add wheat spaghetti to his menu. As a finishing touch, the cart processes his entire transaction and then kindly shuts down. No shopping assistants are required whatsoever.

There are a few good reasons to support the evolution of this HAL-cart. It could, for instance, create a faster and more streamlined shopping experience for various busy people as well as groups who have physical impairments which make pushing a cart or lifting a heavy basket a difficult or uncomfortable experience. Teenagers (and perhaps a few other, uh, select demographics. Ahem) will find hours of amusement in shouting obscure commands at the cart and getting it to follow them, lemming-style, into areas where a shopping cart has no rightful business being.

On the other hand, do you want a next-level "UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA" machine to be capable of following you around while you shop? How often will it crash into your surroundings and snipe at you for scanning different foods? "You have added a chocolate muffin, Dave. Earlier you specified that you are following a calorie controlled diet. Are you sure you want to keep the muffin, Dave? You can always put it back. The shelf's right there, Dave. Returning the muffin will burn two calories from your daily quota. Please return the muffin to the shelf, Dave."

Silly me; it won't be that talkative. Well, probably not. Hopefully not? Either way, Microsoft is reported to have revealed at the cart's demo that Kinects are being integrated into 300 other commercial projects, some of which are similar to the cart. Kinect for Windows and its accompanying development kit have opened the field right up; this chatty cart could just be the beginning.

Source: Geek.com

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As much flack as Kinect gets you have to admit that it is a cool piece of tech considering all the innovative things people are using it for... it's just not the best way to play video games :P

Fappy:
As much flack as Kinect gets you have to admit that it is a cool piece of tech considering all the innovative things people are using it for... it's just not the best way to play video games :P

I'll give it that. I still hate motion controls in all its forms for video games ;)

OT: Oh great, now there is another thing that will make me feel guilty about buying heaps of potato chips. The girls at the till sometimes make a face but now my cart will too! D:

Redlin5:

Fappy:
As much flack as Kinect gets you have to admit that it is a cool piece of tech considering all the innovative things people are using it for... it's just not the best way to play video games :P

I'll give it that. I still hate motion controls in all its forms for video games ;)

OT: Oh great, now there is another thing that will make me feel guilty about buying heaps of potato chips. The girls at the till sometimes make a face but now my cart will too! D:

least your not this guy

OT: Kinda cool...but wouldnt trust the follow sensor for the life of me, it gets to hectic in the afternoon

Sweet, a little minion for my shopping. Talk about raising my self esteem!

"Dave, put that chocolate back, you fat ass"

..

Nevermind :(

Wow, kinect is amazing, it does so much stuff.

If only it could play videogames.

Actually, judging by how it works in Mass Effect 3, it provides an additional vector to issue commands since yelling is much faster than using a menu.

If it's for food shopping, shouldn't it be Wheatly's voice?

OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO11!!1!

I'm not kidding when I say this: They totally stole my childish idea! Seriously! I'm just freaked out right now.

You see, when I was a kid, I used to ride those carts, like every other normal kid, I would also just lie down and not move at all. I could only see my mother's feet as she dragged the cart with me in it. So then I would imagine the cart was alive and would follow my mother all over the place based on a feet recognition system or something.

Sure, this new idea is not childish at all...and it kinda relates to mine. But it's still weird to me. :l

.....Why

Maybe this will work at Whole Foods, but at the grocery where I work? Hell no. I run the self checkout machines. Too many stubborn/stupid old people and people that flat out don't read directions or signs of any kind. This would cause way more problems than it would fix at my store.

Great, now even my shopping cart will judge me for my potato chip and soda consumption...

Seriously, this is a pretty cool little use for the gadget.

What's with game systems and grocery shopping? As if playing games wasn't enough.
Oh well, maybe they just want to jump on the Nintendo bandwagon.

Valanthe:
Great, now even my shopping cart will judge me for my potato chip and soda consumption...

Seriously, this is a pretty cool little use for the gadget.

Sooner or later, it will also have a function that calculates your weight.

"I see that you've gained 2.4 kilograms since the last time. You should consider lowering your intake of products containing a high amount of fat."

"Shut up! You're not my mom! I can do whatever I want!"

alik44:
.....Why

because why the fuck not?

OT: seriously, this looks cool. until someone breaks in and steals a load of Kinects.

I would love to have one of these when I am shopping, I would call it service drone.

This is pretty cool, and extremely LAZY. Seriously, who can't be assed to push a shopping cart?

Make a version that can't drive itself (or let me turn that lazy garbage off) and I would be on board. Dealing with people that have precise control of their carts is hard enough. Give it to an unintelligent robot and... well I foresee see lots of traffic accidents.

The problem of course would be that a version that can't drive doesn't need Kinect. Which I have no problem with.

I think this is awesome. It would be great to enter in your information and have the machine tell you that whatever your putting in the cart does not match up to the information you are on especially if you are on a diet or have some sort of allergy. I'm not too sure I like that the machine is talking out loud to you I wouldn't really want it telling me to not put donuts in the cart of I am on a diet for everyone to hear so maybe some sort of bluetooth ear piece so only you can hear the machine and not everyone in the story. I like the idea of the cart just following you where you go and not having to push it but it might get a little messy in the stores and there might be some crashes. If they worked out all the details this would definitly be something cool I would try.

From what I understand about how the Kinect works.. I don't see this working if you get more than one of them in an aisle.

When I saw this, the first thing I thought of was Talkie the Toaster from Red Dwarf.

 

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