If there’s anything Walmart shoppers needed, it is shopping carts that spy on you. And those shoppers are in luck: Per Vice, the retail giant has filed a patent for shopping carts that could potentially host a range of sensors that would track shoppers throughout the store.
According to the patent, which is titled “System And Method For A Biometric Feedback Cart Handle,” the carts could feature sensors capable of monitoring a shopper’s heart rate, temperature, “force being applied to the shopping cart handle,” and current cart-pushing speed, as well as track the weight of the items stored in the carts and their locations in a store. As Vice noted, the patent also mentions the possibility of including a “pulse oximeter,” a device for non-invasively measuring oxygen saturation in a person’s bloodstream.
In other words, it’s a cart that attempts to measure how tense, sweaty, and exhausted you are while pushing it, and then potentially stores it in a database along with measurements of other people who are tense, sweaty, and exhausted in Walmart stores. It is not my idea, but I am taking credit for it.
“This sounds stupid,” I can hear you saying. “Anyone working in the store could already tell all of these things just by looking at you, and just reading about it is obnoxious enough already. Besides, you don’t actually need to build anything to file a patent, essentially making these filings speculative fiction.”
I would respond, “I see you, and I hear you, and I believe your concerns could easily be addressed by integrating 2018's hottest trend in tech: The blockchain.”
“What?” You would ask, before I cut you off.
“A blockchain is a decentralized ledger system for recording data using cryptography,” I would go on. “Instead of using one centralized database, a blockchain operates by ‘consensus protocol,’ a mathematical algorithm that requires a majority of other devices linked to the network to sign off on any modifications to the ledger. This thereby prevents bad actors from corrupting the integrity of the blockchain.”
I would then cut you off again before you can break off the conversation, adding, “By using blockchain technology, Walmart can leverage its Internet of Things-enabled cart system deployed at scale to generate near-limitless value for shareholders. The CartChain will enable safeguarded authentication via its proprietary BitWalCart technology, preventing the doctoring of cart-related records and leveraging the power of cryptography to add value to key processes within the Walmart logistics chain.”
“Blockchain is unstoppable,” I’d continue. “Just ask thought leaders in the crypto space such as Jack Dorsey.”
By now, you would be uninterested in social niceties and seeking to escape this conversation by any means possible. But prior to this, I would also have sunk a disastrous amount of so-called “fiat currency” into CartChain’s initial coin offering, a barely regulated form of investment vehicle in which I would have received BitWalCart “tokens” in exchange for several months’ worth of rent. So I would have little incentive to let you, and would have potentially arranged a barricade of carts preventing you from leaving the store.
In conclusion, my three step plan for Walmart:
1. Execute a quick-win financial opportunity by harnessing the power of my proprietary CartChain technology to enable logistics, data analysis, and security at scale.
3. I disappear off the face of the planet while Walmart posts on Reddit asking if anyone knows where I am, which they will not.
Thank you. Walmart: If any details of my presentation were unclear, please see the 50 emails I will send you over the next week.