Pervasive Computing in the Supermarket: Designing a Context-Aware Shopping Trolley

Pervasive Computing in the Supermarket: Designing a Context-Aware Shopping Trolley

Darren Black (Systematic, Denmark), Nils Jakob Clemmensen (Nordjyske Medier, Denmark) and Mikael B. Skov (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jmhci.2010070103
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Shopping in the real world is becoming an increasingly interactive experience as stores integrate various technologies to support shoppers. Based on an empirical study of supermarket shoppers, the authors designed a mobile context-aware system called the Context-Aware Shopping Trolley (CAST). The purpose of CAST is to support shopping in supermarkets through context-awareness and acquiring user attention, thus, the authors’ interactive trolley guides and directs shoppers in the handling and finding of groceries. An empirical evaluation showed that shoppers using CAST behaved differently than shoppers using a traditional trolley. Specifically, shoppers using CAST exhibited a more uniform pattern of product collection and found products more easily while travelling a shorter distance. As such, the study finds that CAST supported the supermarket shopping activity.
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Context-aware computing has been characterized as the ability of an application to discover and react to changes in the environment (Schilit & Theimer, 1994). Here, the word environment is used synonymously with context, as the application is described as aware of its environment and reacting to changes in this environment. The purpose of context-aware applications in general is to provide task-relevant information and services to the user. The systems are designed to achieve this goal by autonomously updating in reaction to changes in their context. This has also been referred to as implicit human-computer interaction (Schmidt, 2001) as computers take action based on implicit user activity, e.g., moving from one location to another. As such, context-aware computing is often mentioned as a key component of Weiser’s vision of ubiquitous computing (Weiser, 1991).

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