Integrating Kinect with the shopping experience

Whole Foods Market, the Texas-based national grocery chain of natural and organic food, was recently added to the list of businesses implementing the technology of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor in its own practices.

The prototype, which was introduced this week, is of a shopping cart that is available to VIP, or “loyalty,” customers. This cart will recognize customers when they swipe their membership cards, and proceed to follow them around the store as they shop. It has a built-in scanner which rings up items as the customer goes along, all the while keeping track of the total of the bill.

Additionally, customers will have an option of inputting a shopping list, which the cart will strictly adhere to. For example, if a customer with a particular dietary need scans an incorrect item that is similar to the desired one, the cart will not only point out this error, but provide information as to what aisle the appropriate one can be found in. It also can be linked to various forms of payment, allowing a customer to check out and pay for groceries without the hassle of waiting in a line.

Although the model, which is in early stages, still has a lot of fine-tuning to be done, an invention like this could very well change the way we buy our food.

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