Coming Soon: Kinect on Your Shopping Carriage

We knew there would be some unique uses for Kinect, but this one is really off the beaten path.

With the final release of Kinect for Windows, the scramble is on to find new and interesting uses for Microsoft's motion capture controller. A new experiment from Whole Foods is embodying the phrase 'expect the unexpected.'Chaotic Moon, showed off a shopping cart with an attached Kinect that would support a variety of functions within the store.GeekWire says that the demo "included a couple of false starts.”

During an event at the Microsoft campus this week, Whole Foods Market, in partnership with an Austin-based mobile software developer called

Among the possible uses are having the cart identify shoppers by their loyalty card (which Whole Foods doesn't have yet), scan items as they are placed in the basket, mark them off the shopping list, and help speed up checkout at the end.

The company says the project is just weeks in development, and

“The technology will need to be ironed out before it’s deployed, lest our shopping trips turn into destruction derbies,” GeekWire’s Todd Bishop wrote.

That might make shopping at Whole Paycheck a little more interesting. But it shows developers are thinking way outside the box and coming up with some very unique uses for Kinect. Microsoft says more than 300 companies are working on commercial applications for Kinect on Windows.

(Image courtesy of GeekWire)

One problem remains, though. Look at the picture of the carriage setup. That's a huge piece of equipment to be jutting out, and shopping carts get abused something fierce. Whole Foods is not going to tolerate this expensive hardware getting trashed on a daily basis. Along with getting the software bugs out, Microsoft is going to have to shrink down the hardware to make it far less obtrusive on the cart and able to survive customer abuse.

Still, it's interesting to see where they are going with this and I'm looking forward to a few more surprises.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.