It doesn't have quite the appeal of sending a robot to do your shopping, but this Smart Cart service being trialed by SK Telecom could definitely take some of the hassle out of trolling the supermarket aisles. Just launched at the Shanghai Lotus Supermarket in China, the system consists of WiFi-enabled, tablet PC-equipped shopping carts and a smartphone app that can be synchronized with the tablet. By utilizing indoor positioning technology and augmented reality, the shopping "Smart" cart becomes a virtual shopping aide.

The Smart Cart application allows customers to search for shopping and discount information, store coupons, as well as to create a shopping list. After getting to the market, the app synchronizes with the tablet PC mounted to the cart's handle, uploads the shopping list and authenticates the user. Wandering through the store's aisles, customers get product and discount information linked to their current location within the store, which is established to within three feet via a WiFi network.

Provided the trial period in China is successful, SK Telecom is planning to build even more personalized service. The cart's tablet PC could gather wide information on the clients' habits, including analysis of their shopping history, to make product recommendations more accurate.

Further trials are also scheduled to be launched in Korea, in the second part of 2011.

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