According to a report from CBInsights, shopping giant Walmart has filed a patent application for smart shopping carts that will be able to record customers hear rate, grip, body temperature and walking speed within the store. The patent application was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patented product by Walmart might one day be able to sense the bodily sensation of their customers and also alert the staff members in case of emergency.
Walmart initially filed the patent for the shopping cart in August 2018, stating that the cart could monitor various biometric signals such as customer’s heart rate, body temperature and tightness of grip on the handle.
The patent “System And Method For Biometric Feedback Cart Handle”, would first collect the data and further transmit the collected data to the server. This data would later be used to alert staff members at the time when shoppers might need any help or medical assistance. The “Biometric Feedback Cart Handle” would specifically send signals of distress to the server connected to the location and later process that data along with the location of the customer. The whole process of the cart is illustrated below:
As per the patent application, the handle of the cart would use different sensors to track various activities that will also include checking the pulse of the shopper, the baseline temperature, the movement of the shopping cart, the shopping cart speed and the force applied to the shopping cart handle. The installed sensors within the cart would also be able to read the weight of groceries in the cart along with the store’s temperature and the level of noise in the store.
To avoid any sort of data breach or misuse of data collected, Walmart states that the cart handles would go to “sleep” when they’re not in use and wouldn’t be able to store any data until customer use it.
Since 2009, Walmart has published over 1400 patent applications which means there are few which are likely to be put into practice. Out of the submitted applications, many of them include virtual reality shopping technologies which were awarded a patent for in-store audio monitoring of store activities. Another one developed as a collaboration between startup Alert Innovation and Walmart were piloted in Alphabot robotics to boost up the speed of online grocery pickup.
The autonomous robots that were developed to scan up and down aisles in case of out-of-stock items, incorrect or missing labels, find mis-priced products are now already being used in 50 Walmart stores.