Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/15/mediacart_shopping_trolley/

Microsoft develops 'intelligent' shopping trolley

Does it yell out when it's been nicked?

By James Sherwood

Posted in Hardware, 15th January 2008 11:46 GMT

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 their loyalty card through a scanner on the trolley’s handle at the beginning of their shop. Targeted video adverts, based on information about previous shopping habits, will then be shown on a 12in retractable colour display as they browse the aisles.

The screen will be managed by several Microsoft technologies, including Windows CE and Microsoft SQL Server. A power unit will sit in the trolley’s base.

A “cart-level checkout feature” rivalling RFID may also be built into the trolley. Hungry shoppers would manually scan their own items on the display before putting them into the trolley, while the total cost of their shopping would be calculated before they left the store – without them passing everything through the supermarket’s check-out aisles.

LCD_shopping_trolley_2

Shopping bills are calculated without going through a till

In addition, it’s claimed the trolley will also allow customers to find products faster within the supermarket and show them information about special offers, like a two-for-one on Windows Vista. Individual shopping lists could even be uploaded onto the supermarket’s website and then downloaded onto the trolley by swiping your loyalty card.

Is it smart enough to send out a signal when it's been dumped in the canal, we wonder? Or to alert security when it's been ridden by a bunch of young thugs?

MediaCart’s due to be trialled across American supermarket chain ShopRite later this year, with additional participation from the trolley’s manufacturer, MediaCart Holdings.

Plans for a UK trial haven’t been announced - thank God - but if the American trial goes smoothly then it could change the way we all do the mundane weekly shop.

Those of us still not ordering our groceries online, that is...