Walmart wants to monitor ‘stressed out’ shoppers

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Walmart wants to monitor ‘stressed out’ shoppers

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 09/28/2018
A discount giant is eyeing an invention that could alert associates about shoppers who may need medical assistance.

Walmart recently filed a patent for a “biometric feedback cart handle” that tracks data, such as heart rates and temperatures, obtained from the customer holding the shopping cart. This baseline data is sent to a server and compared to other details, including store noise levels, and cart speed, among other data. If an elevated heart rate is detected, an associate is notified and approaches the customer for assistance, according to the patent application filed on Aug. 23.

The program could extend into other services. For example, customers could choose to have details sent to them through a store app located on their smart phone. Another option is to create a “power-assist mode” on shopping carts that will automatically activate when a customer’s heart rate exceeds a specific level, according to the filing.

This is not Walmart’s first robot-like service that monitors store-level operations. The discount giant is planning to launch a pilot that uses “first-of-its-kind” automated technology to help associates fill online grocery orders faster than ever before. The system, called “Alphabot” will automatically bring items from storage to associates who will consolidate the items in the order.

Walmart is also using a shelf-scanning robot at store-level to detect out-of-stock items, incorrect prices and wrong or missing labels.

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