The shopping cart is a grocery store staple, right up there with canned soups and those little plastic clips that keep plastic produce bags sealed. It's hard to argue with the rugged, dockable design that has become ingrained in the retail experience, but some designers are still working hard at building a better shopping companion.
Here are some tech-savvy and human-centered concepts that have impressed us recently here at Food Dive:
1. MICROSOFT KINECT-ENABLED HELP FOR THE DISABLED
Microsoft's Kinect devices are mostly known for being motion-detecting game controllers that work with the company's Xbox 360 game console. Some outside-of-the-box-thinking hackers decided to pair Kinect tech with a shopping cart, however, and the result was an in-store companion that can follow a customer around and free up their hands for other tasks.
2. SELF-ADJUSTING HEIGHT AND VOLUME
Russian designer Liubov Kurzanova's take on the classic shopping cart may resemble a giant hamster wheel, but his high-concept cart is designed to travel with a customer and adjust the height and size of its basket to accommodate load size. It also uses a navigation system to aid users with product searches.
3. THE PORTABLE COAT-RACK APPROACH
Designer Evan Gurgi's take on the shopping cart re-imagines the classic form entirely, envisioning a multi-basketed, tree-like companion that a shopper would pull around a store and use to organize purchases more efficiently.
(Image credits: Evan Gurgui)
4. STEERABLE REAR WHEELS
IDEO created this shopping cart to show of its process for the ABC news program Nightline. The cart uses racks for modular bin use and steerable back wheels that straighten when pushed forward—a feature that should be appreciated by any shopper.
5. AN ENGLARGED SEAT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
Caroline's Cart is actually available in seven states, including Illinois, Mississippi, New York and Oklahoma, according to a press release from October. The cart design is the brainchild of Drew Ann Long, who wanted to give caregivers with special needs children an easier way to shop for groceries.
(Image credit: PR Newswire)
6. AN ONBOARD RECHARGEABLE SCOOTER
Designer Mete A. Mordag's Z-Cart actually looks like a giant letter Z from the side. The cart somewhat resembles a Segway machine with a shopping cart built around it, boasting removable baskets and hangers for various sizes of bags.
(Image credits: mordagdesign)
7. GO-KART MODIFICATIONS
The LOLrioKART is not at all practical for shopping, but it does look like a of fun to ride in. A group of MIT students tricked this traditional shopping cart out with a 15hp motor and upgraded its wheels to enable travel speeds of up to 45 mph. The changes didn't leave much room for groceries, but that probably wasn't a priority for them.
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