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back to article Microsoft develops 'intelligent' shopping trolley

Supermarket trolleys have always been pretty basic - until now. Microsoft is co-developing a new one featuring an integrated display that tells you what to buy, what aisle it’s in and how much you’ve spent. LCD_shopping_trolley MediaCart's shopping trolley features a colour display Dubbed MediaCart, hungry shoppers swipe …

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Anonymous Coward

I'll be impressed when...

...they get the wheels working properly.

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US catches up after 10 years ... again

“cart-level checkout feature” sounds remarkably like Waitrose "quick-check/quick-pay" which has been running for about 10 years (I know 'cos had to get used the the queing at a till thing again when I spent a couple of years in the US so it was running before 1998 ... n..b. this was about the same time that US banks "invented" the debit card :-). Only difference is quick-check doesn't have adverts and is handheld so can be deployed with baskets ... or even the simplest straight to bag setup which I normally use!

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Joke

What about the fridge?

Will the trolley be able to automatically talk to your Microsoft Fridge and direct you to the aisles where you can pick up stuff to replace what you've taken out of the fridge since the last shopping trip?

#include <joke-about-mould.h>

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Never work here.

Can't say I'm surprised that they're not piloting this in the UK. One of the things that characterises the British shopping trolley is the utter inability of its owners to keep those astonishingly high maintenance and technically complex four castors it runs on all working at once.

Touch sensitive screens, complex software, rfid labels and scanners? All looked after by people who make organising a piss up in a brewery seem like an insurmountable challenge? Don't make me laugh.........

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Paris Hilton

Oo....satnav and in trolley entertainment......

......for when your on the lash and pushing your mates along the highstreet or down multistorey car parks...

Paris of course for her aptitude at getting trollied..

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Anonymous Coward

Apart from having to push extra weight around for granny

and the "green" considerations of all that power use, toxic elements used in the CPU etc,....

what about when my 2 year old sits in the "baguette" section of the front of the trolley, will it entertain him or even resist his efforts to open the casing and reprogram it with jelly (well, it is "soft"ware) from the next shelf he passes?

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Lawsuit waiting to happen

There's going to be an epidemic of ankle injuries from being by trollies as everyone will be watching the adverts on the screen instead of looking where they are going.

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NOOOO

not more "targeted adds" when will it end

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Fantastic

Maybe they could make it voice activated so that it can respond to things like....

"ok, where the f*** have they moved the cabbages to THIS week?"

"where the hell are the CHOCOLATE Hob Nobs?"

"...but I don't WANT a pack of 24 toilet rolls - I only want 2!!!"

"can you find me a chicken that has an 'eat by' date later than this afternoon?"

Then again, if it's running Windows CE, you'll be doing well if the damned thing works at all, if my Windows WM6 mobile phone is anything to go by!

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Happy

Hurrah!

flatscreens for a dollar :)

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Coat

And if it crashes...

I mean the software, not the trolley

...you'll just have to unload the whole thing and start all over again. Fun!

EAfH

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Will be ignored by most

People are probably going to give it a try at the beginning, but I don't see this working for long.

Supermarkets change aisle content on purpose to keep consumers from acquiring movement habits and force them to see new products, lose their bearings and search through aisles to find what they want.

A gadget that'll tell people where to go is going to defeat this tactic in part.

Plus the references must be maintained - which will probably be a major hassle.

To me this is another solution in search of a problem. If I really need to know where a product is, I just ask an employee or the desk. No need for an expensive flatscreen that will probably be broken more often than not.

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Go

I've done that!

I've crashed a normal cart into people before. Darn you woman why do you have to be so good looking!

I think all the extra weight will make for some excellent law suits from broken legs and ankles as stated above. I haven't actually hurt anyone but it's darn embarrassing. It's hard to resist that awful obvious joke "Oops, magnetic personality!"

Incidentally does it know if you don't scan something you put in the cart. For one thing kids are known to put stuff in carts without permission. Will they adhere to the scan first rule? So there would still need to be someone checking the items against the receipt to make sure.

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Paris Hilton

Extra enhancements.

1) Fit a GPS system and outboard motor so that the trolley can remove itself from the local canal and return to the supermarket

B) Add indicators connected to motion sensors so I can find out where the idiot in front is actually trying to go

iv) Fit strong electromagnets of the same polarity to all of the trolleys, so that when I walk down the aisle where some old couple have left their trolley in the middle while they go looking for the cat food 3 aisles down, the trolley will be naturally repelled by my trolley, rather than me having to either stop and move theirs, or physically bash the thing out of the way.

Paris icon, cos shopping is her thang (the numbering scheme is hers, too)

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Coat

Alternatively...

...it could all go to hell in a handbasket.

Which aisle for the coats?

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Stop

The supermarkets won't allow it

Sounds great from the customer's point of view, but the supermarkets wouldn't allow this kind of consumer control for simple reasons.

Firstly, the whole point of the supermarket method of shopping - adding multiple items to a cart and then paying at the end - is that the customer can't keep track of how much they're spending, until it is too late. Give them too much feedback and they'll start drawing back their budget.

Secondly, the way supermarkets are laid out is carefully planned to optimise impulse buying. All the useful items are as far away from each other as possible, so the customer has to wander round the aisles looking at shelves. Giving them too much direction as to where things go means they will make a beeline right past all the tempting extra sales.

Thirdly, supermarkets don't like shopping lists; because, again, they want customers to be sidelined by extra items and special offers.

A customer who knows exactly what they want, and sticks to the buying decision made before they even set foot in the store, is no good to the supermarket. Which is, frankly, why they try to make the shopping experience more pleasant to women than men!

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Joke

Hey, it looks like you're buying some beans... would you like help with that?

Oh, kill me now... o_O

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Not new at all...

They had those in a supermarket chain when I was working in the States (Atlanta, to be specific). This was about 10-15 years ago.

It wasn't much use then, either. As has been said, too many things to keep updated in the database...

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If it's useful, it'll happen

"what isle it’s in"

Hey, I shop at Archipelago's too. Kind of a chore getting the trolley between isles without ruining your ready meals in the ocean, though.

Unless you meant "aisle", of course. Narf.

I think there's a bit too much pessimism here. Whether it screws up supermarkets' placement tactics or not is rather irrelevant - if it's useful, one store will implement it, people will start going there, then the others will have to install it too. They installed self-service checkouts even though they usually lack an impulse-buy counter and can't pester you to get a Nectar card. Online shopping already allows you to see your total as you shop. And they can still put bread at one end and veg at the other - in fact, if the trolleys told you exactly where to go you'll probably have more time to look at the shelves instead of staring at the aisle signs.

If they could get away with it, I'm sure all supermarkets would chain shoppers to a conveyor belt that took them round the whole store twice and then to the checkout. But if people can get a more convenient shopping experience, they'll go to a different supermarket. In fact, that's part of why people went to supermarkets in the first place instead of trudging round the high street.

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Awsome!

Now we can have some high tech homeless people now!

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Stop

(untitled)

> A customer who knows exactly what they want, and sticks to the buying decision made before they even set foot in the store, is no good to the supermarket. Which is, frankly, why they try to make the shopping experience more pleasant to women than men!

To be honest, the entire "constantly move everything around so I go looking for it and buy more stuff" simply dosen't work. (at least with me) If I can't find something I get pissed off and give up so they lose a sale.

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Anonymous Coward

Hopefully.......

It'll solve the 2 things I hated about shopping in the States.....

1. We call them trolleys and they call them carts for a reason. Ours steer with all 4 wheels, theirs steer with just the front 2. Much harder to get round sharp corners / avoid the silly woman who steps back right in front of you.

2. Buying things that cost more at the till..... yeah, the fact that we already have VAT added in our prices, they add the tax at the checkout. Hopefully this would tell you how much you're *actually* spending. (Nothing more annoying than buying 2 items in the dollar store and finding out one costs $1.04 and the other is $1.12...... dur)

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Microsoft are incapable

Microsoft can't even get the calculations in Excel to work properly so what makes them think I will trust this?

This is what it would show:

3 x 1pt Milk @ 34p = £100,000.00

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