I love robots and writing about robotics. I’m happy this is my second article this week on the topic. A few days ago, I wrote about a robotic bartender (controlled with an app) that can fix your cocktails in seconds. Today I’d like to share with you a robotic shopping cart that will follow you around in any store. It will stay right behind you so you can just turn around when you’re shopping and put your items in it.
This cutie pie shopping cart will travel with you throughout the store, almost like a pet. It’s the world’s first handsfree shopping cart, and it’s designed to make your shopping experience easier, more efficient and more relaxing.
Students Omri Elmalech and Ohad Rusnak also love robotics. They decided to create this autonomous shopping cart as part of their class project at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They are hoping their shopping cart becomes popular everywhere over the next few years.
Ohad originally came up with this idea after following his mom around the grocery store while she selected the items. He and Omri decided to create a robotic shopping cart that could do that job of pushing the cart.
According to the school’s website, they combined a computer vision algorithm they developed along with a 3D Kinect sensor, a 3D camera and an Arduino board, which allows the cart to track an individual person.
I admit, this all sounds wonderful, but I have a few questions. If you live in a big city like I do, you know the grocery stores can get very crowded, and the space for the carts can get tight. I even tweeted about that in November.
My first question is, can these autonomous shopping carts navigate a busy store aisle filled with carts? My next question is, can it follow someone even if that person is moving fast? I like to zip into the store, grab a selection of items on my list, and zip out. Would this shopping cart be able to keep up with me?
I like this idea a lot. However, since it doesn’t come as an add-on for existing shopping carts, I think it may be a while before it catches on. After all, stores would have to purchase an entire new fleet of carts.
You can read more about this on The Jerusalem Post. The good news is, Omri and Ohad got an A+ grade for this school project. Great job, guys! You innovative thinking might just change the future of shopping.
YouTube: Autonomous Tracking Shopping Cart – Shopping Made Easy from Technion