A Portuguese project uses Kinect to help wheelchair-bound customers use a shopping cart.
Kinect hacks have ranged from lewd to juvenile to pretty neat, but I think the wi-GO is by far one of the most practical uses for Microsoft's motion sensor that I've ever seen. We often don't realize how difficult it is for handicapped people to perform basic tasks like shopping for groceries, as the first half of the video by Luis Carlos Inácio de Matos from the University of Beira Interior in Covilhã, Portugal demonstrates. Luckily, the second half shows how a prototype device uses Kinect to have a cart follow behind a man in a wheelchair automatically.
"With the aim of building a barrier-free society, the project wi-GO is a robot system based on sensor technology Kinect that enables the disabled person, but also the elderly and pregnant women, among others, carry objects without difficulty, comfortably and safely," said de Matos.
I don't know how feasible it is for every handicapped person to have their own Kinect-powered cart following them around, but I think it's a really cool idea. Maybe grocery stores can start buying these devices instead of the Lark-type things they have in the U.S. now.