Gone are the days of running to a store to grab a quick carton of milk. Now retailers want to track every element of your experience in their stores, from your shopping habits to your location and now even your heart rate.
Walmart is trying to patent a design for a “biometric feedback cart handle” on a shopping cart that could measure heart rate, temperature, speed, and the force they apply to the handle as they walk through a store.
The patent application, submitted Aug. 23 to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Motherboard, shows the cart would first measure “basic” biometric data and then compare the data at different times in a purchase visit to this base.
The data would then be relayed to a central server and, if it indicated that the buyer was “not satisfied”, the central server would send an alert to a salesperson to go help the customer.
It’s a sign of how smart our stores are getting and how much data retailers want to collect. Shopping centers are already usingto track customers in stores, and new technologies like gaze detection could even tell businesses what catches our eye in a window or what we think of a product line.
For Walmart, which invests inand which has already patented a technology for in stores, it’s another sign that retail is changing.
Who knows what the future holds for us? Targeted advertising to get you in-store for Walmart’s next big sale, then a shopping cart that knows exactly how fast you’re running to grab the bargain?
Clarification, October 10 at 5:53 a.m. PT: Walmart is awaiting the USPTO’s response to its request.
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