Augmented Reality Supermarket Opens in Milan

Michele Versaci
Michele Versaci / Michele Versaci

The future is looking bright for dissatisfied grocery shoppers. Earlier in December, Amazon unveiled their concept for a store with no checkout lines. Now inhabitat reports that an augmented reality supermarket designed by an MIT professor has opened in Milan.

The new high-tech location of Coop Italia, Italy’s largest supermarket chain, is designed to provide shoppers with up-to-date information about their purchases as they make them. When customers walk up to take a product from a table or shelf, they’ll activate motion sensors nearby. A screen above will then display facts about the item, including allergens, nutritional information, and tips for disposal.

The augmented reality grocery store concept is the brainchild of Carlo Ratti, a designer and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. He debuted the prototype with his team from Carlo Ratti Associati at last year’s Milan World Expo.

Now the idea is ready for the real world, with over 6000 products filling 10,000 square feet of space. But in a press release, Ratti emphasizes that there’s still room for improvement:

“Today, this information reaches the consumer in a fragmented way. But in the near future, we will be able to discover everything there is to know about the apple we are looking at: the tree it grew on, the CO2 it produced, the chemical treatments it received, and its journey to the supermarket shelf.”

If you’re missing out on the high-tech shopping experience in Milan, there are plenty of ways to get your information before you enter the store: Here are some supermarket products to avoid if you’re looking to become a smarter shopper.

[h/t inhabitat]