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.
Really the only thing left for you to do is reach for items on the shelf and put it in the cart. And frankly, we're pretty sure there is some Arduino hacker out there who will wire up some remote controlled robotic arms to the carts just for the hell of it.
It looks like grocery chain Whole Foods and their partner, Texas based Chaotic Moon will be the first to deploy the carts in the real world. The release date for the Kinect Carts was not announced.
Check out the video below for a look at the cart in action.