We all know the frustration of getting home from the supermarket only to realize we've forgotten something – or to find that someone else has also been. The Hiku grocery button is aimed at helping users to avoid shopping list mix-ups. It can even help users avoid going to the supermarket altogether.
The Hiku is one of a number of devices aimed at streamlining the process of shopping for groceries. It's not as efficient as the Amazon Dash button, with which users can reorder products with just one press, but it's more practical than the Genican, which proposes that users scan the barcode of used packaging as they throw it in the bin.
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The first version of the Hiku button was launched in October 2013, with a barcode scanner, a built-in microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity. Users were able to scan the barcode of or speak the name of products to add them to a digital shopping list. Its magnetic housing meant it could be easily attached to a fridge door for safekeeping.
The new version of the device boasts a few additional features. It boasts "instant-on" functionality for faster scanning and voice recording, improved audio capture for better voice recognition, and greater resistance to spills.
When a product at home is running low or finished, users need only press the Hiku button and then scan the product's barcode or say its name. Scanned items will be added straight to the user's shopping list in the cloud, while spoken items must first be interpreted by Hiku before a best match is added to the shopping list.
As the shopping list is stored in the cloud, users can view it on a smartphone using either the iOS or Android app. The list can also be shared with others, such as a spouse. Items can be swiped off the list once they've been bought and, as the list is saved in the cloud, this will show up to anyone who loads the list, avoiding the chance of duplicated purchases.
In addition to having a new version of the device itself, Hiku can also now carry out online shopping for its users. The first two US stores with which it has been integrated are Walmart Online Grocery and Peapod. Lists are intelligently matched to online availability at the chosen store and can be directly ordered. Purchased items are then removed from the Hiku shopping list.
The new generation Hiku is available to order online now for US$49, with online shopping functionality due to commence on Nov. 19th.
The video below provides an introduction to the new Hiku.