Austin
1:07 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Sentient Shopping Carts Invade Whole Foods

Well, our robotic shopping cart overlords aren't here just yet. But a partnership between Austin-based Whole Foods and a local tech firm may lead us a step closer.

Computing giant Microsoft recently demonstrated a “smart cart,” wired to a computer tablet and a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor that can follow shoppers around the store, check items off a shopping list, and, as the video below shows, even make corrections if you select the wrong item.

Microsoft doesn’t mention who made the cart, but news outlets like Wired point to Austin-based Chaotic Moon Studios. Chaotic Moon has previously tweaked Kinect technology; at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, it unveiled the “Board of Awesomeness,” a Kinect-connected skateboard that can travel at up to 32 mph.

Wired says Whole Foods is currently testing the carts at stores in Austin, and will launch a broader trial run in April.

You can see the cart demonstration via a GeekWire video, and watch Chaotic Moon’s “Board of Awesomeness“ in action below in the second video.