British researchers are trying to improve the shopping experience with a scanner that gives consumers a quick, intelligent snapshot of what they're buying
When health-conscious people hit the grocery aisle, they spend countless minutes poring over nutrition labels to decide which products are the best to take home. A new collaboration out of Britain called the Change Project aims to dramatically shave that time down, using a smart grocery-cart attachment to help consumers make faster and more-informed buying decisions. Here, a brief guide to the proposed technology:
How does the gadget work?
The Lambet Shopping Trolley Handle is equipped with a barcode sensor and can clip onto any cart. It uses a 16-LED multicolor display to give would-be buyers a quick idea of the products they're buying, including allergen information and calories. "One color pattern might indicate that a product is organic, and another might tell you if it's local" by flashing the words low, medium, or high, to indicate the food miles the product traveled to get to your store, says Ariel Schwartz at Fast Co. Exist. Users can compare two competing products with the scanner, which tells you which item is the better buy with a smiley face, and steers you away from less healthy options with a neutral or frowny face. The system is "appealing because of its simplicity," says Walter Frick at BostInno.