Digital health tech may be coming to a Walmart near you, as the retail giant is thinking of putting some fancy sensors in its stores.
As part of that plan, Walmart has filed for a patent titled “System And Method For A Biometric Feedback Cart Handle,” which sees it using fancy shopping carts with sensor-laden handles that can gather biometric data to determine when customers might need help.
According to the filing, said shopping cart, upon being moved, “wakes up” from being in a low-power or “sleep” mode to start gathering data, such as temperature, pulse, speed, and the force at which someone grips the handle or pushes the cart. From there, an algorithm would create a baseline of the customer’s condition, and eventually help Walmart identify shoppers in distress so it could improve their overall shopping experience.
For instance, if sensors detect a sudden rise or fall of a person’s temperature, it could alert a customer service associate who could then locate the shopper to find out whether medical assistance would be needed.
Or, if the system detects something’s wrong, it could issue a broadcast throughout the store to call associates’ attention to the situation.
The patent states that Walmart isn’t looking to collect personal information, and the goal of the system is to gather anonymous data to improve the shopping experience.
At this stage, we have no idea when or even whether Walmart will actually add this tech to its stores, but considering the tough competition the company faces from Amazon, it gotta try something new. And these sort of sensors may be a part of the strategy. We’ll see how that pans out.