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IBM Developing Augmented Reality Shopping Assistant

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Actual reality can be confusing and overwhelming, and that’s why we oftentimes turn to the Internet for help. IBM is taking that to a new level with an AR mobile shopping app. The example given is when you’re cruising down the cereal aisle and you don’t know which one you want to buy.

When you take out your smartphone or tablet and launch the yet unnamed IBM shopping assistant app, it uses the camera to recognize the different products on the shelf. Then, the app will “instantly display recommendations and offers based on their specific preferences.” The demo here, for instance, shows that one of the cereals is “low in sugar” and that you get a half-gallon of milk for free when you buy this box of cereal.

The superimposed information that pops up in the app is hardly random either. It’s supposed to tap into your buying history, as well as looking at things like price, consumer rating, and environmentally friendly packaging. You can pre-set the characteristics that are important to you and then you can use the app to pan across a shelf of products. The app will then highlight the item that best matches your preferences.

“The idea of standing in an aisle in the supermarket and having your mobile device point out the gluten-free cookies you need can be a real time saver,” said project leader Amnon Ribak. “This has the potential to completely change the shopping experience from one of hunting, reading, and searching to simply picking up those products you prefer.”

I imagine the future of this could be integration with Google’s Project Glass.


About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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