Walmart filed a patent for a shopping cart that would know if you're freaking out internally.
  • Giant US retailer Walmart filed a patent application for a shopping cart that would track things such as shoppers' heart rates and temperatures and how strongly they're gripping the handle.
  • According to the patent filing, the trolley would use this data to figure out whether shoppers are stressed and when they might need help.
  • Employees would be alerted to check on customers who seem to be internally freaking out, based on the shopping cart's analysis.

Walmart has filed a patent for a shopping cart that would measure your stress levels and alert employees if shoppers are internally freaking out.

The retail giant recently published a patent application for a biometric cart handle, CB Insights reports. The shopping-trolley handle would track data obtained from the customer holding the cart, such as shoppers' heart rates and temperatures and how strongly they're gripping the cart's handle.

An analysis of this data could be used to understand shoppers' stress levels or other indicators that they might need help, according to the patent filing. If a customer seems to be struggling or stressed, the cart would send an alert over to an employee, who would then sent to check on the shopper.

A figure from Walmart's patent for the shopping cart.

In some situations, such as an apparent medical emergency, the cart may even prompt more drastic measures, such as sending a notification over the store's intercom. And, trends in behaviour - such as customers across the store getting more stressed when a certain song plays - could result in management making more long-term changes.

The patent application is careful to clarify that the data would not be linked to the identity of any individual customer. However, a shopping cart that could essentially read customers' minds is a futuristic concept that may edge into creepy territory for some.

Walmart is increasingly turning to robots and new technology to compete with rivals such as Amazon.

Fifty Walmart stores across the United States uses autonomous robots, which go up and down aisles, scanning for out-of-stock items, incorrect prices, and wrong or missing labels. The company is also testing automated robotic carts to pick and pack shoppers' online grocery orders.

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