Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Elderly To Get Satellite Navigation To Find Their Way Around Supermarkets 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-many-aisles dept.
Three government centers in the UK have been working on a way to use digital technology to help the elderly and the disabled. One of their ideas is a supermarket satellite navigation system to help elderly people who get confused by changing layouts in the aisles. Professor Paul Watson, of Newcastle University, said: "Many older people lack the confidence to maintain 'normal' walking habits. This is often due to worries about getting lost in unfamiliar, new or changing environments." A kitchen for Alzheimer's patients packed with hidden sensors and projectors is also in the works.

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Elderly To Get Satellite Navigation To Find Their Way Around Supermarkets

Comments Filter:
  • Now they can find all the dog food and hair nets...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      but the asparagus was in this isle last week...

    • How else are they supposed to protect themselves from the hair thieves?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      no, now they can have one more thing they dont understand how to make work. and they'll still ask the punk highschool kid where the alpo is.
    • by jo42 (227475)

      Make fun of them now, but you ain't getting any younger - in other words, you will be "they" sooner or later...

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:04PM (#27768133)

    Wouldn't it be better for the supermarket to simply not rearrange their store all the damn time? Or alternatively, provide decent customer service by having employees give the elderly people directions?

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      Wouldn't it be better for the supermarket to simply not rearrange their store all the damn time?

      My grocery store changes layout significantly perhaps every year or two. That's not exactly "all the damn time"...

      Or alternatively, provide decent customer service by having employees give the elderly people directions?

      Decent customer service costs money. Given the choice, people generally vote (with their money) for cheaper food over better serviced food. Put another way: Would you rather pay $9 for a bottle of

      • My grocery store changes layout significantly perhaps every year or two. That's not exactly "all the damn time"...

        For old people with memory loss, it is.

        Decent customer service costs money. Given the choice, people generally vote (with their money) for cheaper food over better serviced food. Put another way: Would you rather pay $9 for a bottle of wine in the bag you carry to your car, or $13 for the same bottle of wine carried to your car by a checker?

        I find it implausible that having a few people around t

        • My grocery store changes layout significantly perhaps every year or two. That's not exactly "all the damn time"...

          For old people with memory loss, it is.

          Decent customer service costs money. Given the choice, people generally vote (with their money) for cheaper food over better serviced food. Put another way: Would you rather pay $9 for a bottle of wine in the bag you carry to your car, or $13 for the same bottle of wine carried to your car by a checker?

          I find it implausible that having a few people around to give directions would be as expensive as having baggers haul everybody's food to their car for them (which, by the way, Publix manages to do without being all that much more expensive anyway), especially if they had other tasks to perform at the same time (such as stocking shelves or sweeping the floor). Home Depot can do it (sort of); why not grocery stores?

          I thought you said badgers - now that would be interesting.

    • by bronney (638318) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:31PM (#27768299) Homepage

      Hang on a minute, you're saying constantly changing layout confuses people and drive people away??

      Welcome to slashdot.

    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      not rearrange their store all the damn time?

      Well my solution to that is simple. I don't even make a list.

      I walk up and down every single aisle every time. Look side to side and if there is something that I want or need.. into the cart. It's fast too. I hit every part of the store only one time. Usually in and out in 15 minutes or less especially since most aisles don't have anything and I just walk right through it.

      Heck, I even comparison shop and check for shit chemical ingredients and I am still out

      • by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @12:03AM (#27768497) Homepage Journal

        Try that when your post 65 years old and starting to have memory problems. You will have a great time trying to remember what you need.

        • Heck, I'm not quite 50, and my memory's as good as it ever was (IIRC), and I STILL forget something half the time.

      • by ethorad (840881)

        I've built a spreadsheet that I type my shopping list into. It looks up the aisle number, and then the aisle order based on the route I take around my local tesco and then sorts. As an added bonus my popular recipes are entered as well so I can choose a recipe, type in the number of people to make it for and the items get added to the list automatically. Means I can take a print round the shop and get out fast.

        Now if I had a GPS locator as well, I could try loading it all onto a roomba or something so I

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Wouldn't it be better for the supermarket to simply not rearrange their store all the damn time? Or alternatively, provide decent customer service by having employees give the elderly people directions?

      ... and stay off my lawn! spoken like a true geriatric.

      • spoken like a true geriatric.

        Given that I'm actually 24 years old, I'm not sure whether that's a complement or an insult!

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As someone that works at a grocery store, you are entirely correct. The employees should be helping the customers find the items they need, and at least be polite, if not cheerful about it. If there aren't enough employees to do that, or they don't know the layout of the store well enough...there's your problem right there.

      Yes, the annoying customer is asking me where the damned bread is for the fifth time this month and interrupting the job I was assigned to do. That's ok, 'cuz his dollars are helping p

    • by zoney_ie (740061)

      Nevermind rearrange their store, they keep changing their mind as to what products you are allowed to buy (i.e. which ones are even available in their stores), based on what makes them more money or which suppliers have been good boys this week. Tesco I'm looking at you.

      • I concur. The number of times my local Tesco doesn't have bottles of Pepsi but have almost an entire aisle of Coke is astounding. I can only assume Coke are paying them not to order Pepsi that week.

    • Monotony, like monogamy is not in nature's interest.

      • otony may be why SatNav systems guide or confuse the elderly over or onto piers, cliffs, rail tracks....

        Diabolical SatNav: Turn right and head into Aisl 5. Increase speed. Aim directly for open electrical box behind flapping chill curtain. Worried? Don't worry. Continue pushing cart into open, live panel...

        Bjzjjzhhhzhzhuhhh

        Ku-thunk...

        Diabolical SatNav: Non-perishable non-go-back flapping in Aisle 5. Bring air evacuator! Reason: Boiling/evaporating Ensure and Depends in high concentration.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Or alternatively, provide decent customer service by having employees give the elderly people directions?

      There are shops that provide service like this, some of them are supermarkets. They're more expensive though.

      It would probably be easier to teach the elderly how to order their groceries online. Since they're being delivered "off-peak" the charge could be less, too.

    • by mikael (484)

      Wouldn't it be better for the supermarket to simply not rearrange their store all the damn time?

      Amen. There is nothing worse than getting every item on your list except one, going to the far end of the hypermarket/supermarket (20+ aisles) and finding out - yes, they have rearranged the layout - what you thought was "packet/instant meals" has now been categorized as "international foods" and is now on a top/bottom shelf somewhere in the middle of the store. But not to worry, the store have placed guides wit

      • When I was much younger, my mother could sit down and write up a grocery list to feed a family of 9 for a week- and do it in the order she would be going thru the store aisles- by memory alone! Now she gets frustrated because things get moved around, or aren't carried anymore- and she's only buying for 2.
    • More like another way to mess with old people! Rearranging the aisles is fun by itself, but then when we give them the satnav system programmed with the wrong information, then, my friend, hilarity will truly ensue.

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:04PM (#27768135) Journal

    That is absoloutely brilliant and hilarious all at once.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      I'd be interested to hear from somebody who works at a grocery store (or better yet, a big home improvement store, e.g. Lowes) how many times per day somebody asks them where to find something. 10? 100? I wouldn't mind asking a machine instead, if it worked.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by nikclev (590173) *

        Having worked at Lowe's, I'd venture that about 80% of the questions I got were variations of "Where is (foo)?" Usually they had a pretty good idea of what it was they were looking for, but not the exact name. They quite often knew they needed (for example) a joist hanger, but of the 14 different kinds we had they didn't know which one they needed. Thats 14 different kinds of *just* joist hangers. We had about 120 different kinds of nailer plates/menders/rafter trusses/ties/etc that are all used in wood fra

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Reminds me of the time I went into a huge branch of Boots the Chemist to get some nail clippers.. I couldn't find them so asked an assistant:-

          Me:"Excuse me, Where are the nail clippers, Please?"
          Assistant: "For toenails or fingernails?"
          Me: "Um, Fingernails... Do you keep them in different places then??"
          Assistant: (Looks at me as though I'm strange) "Of course not, they're both together"
          Me: "So why did you ask... Never mind, Thanks"

          I didn't tell her I planned to use them on both Toe and Finger nails!! Hah!!

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by dfenstrate (202098)

      This is what an unconstrained national government looks like.
      It wastes taxpayer money on petty things, and elsewhere, it uses it's power to direct people's lives in ever-increasing detail.

      Remember that, when you advocate the US government take on yet another role. The state becomes all-encompassing, perverse, petty, and ultimately tyrannical (even if in a bureaucratically infuriating, superficially benign manner.)

  • The local grocery store haven't changed their floor layout in 20 years. The only thing that changes is the price of food: up, up, and up.
  • Now hopefully.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:07PM (#27768157) Journal
    Hopefully those people who have difficulty figuring out a new layout in a store will be able to figure out this new software tool. Knowing my grandma, I doubt it.
  • Oh sure (Score:5, Funny)

    by malkir (1031750) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:09PM (#27768169)
    Teaching the elderly with Alzheimers how to use their new hand held satellite/rfid/wifi mapping device will be a SNAP!
    • gps-enabled irremovable ankle bracelets work for felons, they should also work for the elderly.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Come on, we all know how comfortable the elderly are with high tech gadgets. Now all we need is a bunch of skateboarding teenagers at the entrance to greet them so they'll REALLY feel at home.
  • How can this work? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Masa (74401) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:19PM (#27768243) Journal
    Every time, when I hear about these in-door satellite navigation systems, I can't help but wonder, how these even could work. First of all, AFAIK, the GPS signal is so faint that it will not work inside the buildings. Also, the accuracy of the mobile tower / GPS systems might not be enough for this kind of applications.
    • They probably don't mean actual GPS. It would be trivial to set up signal broadcasters in the stores to have the devices navigate by.

    • Dude, any digital navigation is automatically labeled "GPS" because digital navigation is too foreign to the common press. Calling all digital navigation GPS wildly inaccurate, yes, but easier than trying to explain what is actually going on.

      And yer right, GPS won't work in a building or even under heavy canopy of trees and if it did, it's not accurate enough. 30ft difference isn't much for a conventoinal or nuclear bomb, but it is when choosing potted beef and mightydog dog food.
    • You use something called pseudo satellites [wikipedia.org].

      They are emitters with a precisely known coordinate that aid your device in constructing its own location.

      If the pseudolites are set up properly you can avoid using GPS satellites at all and still get better precision as you're avoiding all the atmospheric intereferense. You still get scattering though, but the more pseudolites you use, the better accuracy.

      Since the signal doesn't have to travel through 200 km of atmosphere, you get better signals as well. Powering

  • Sweet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeGumby (1125507)

    Sweet idea, not just for elderley, but for anyone visiting a new supermarket?

    the only problem is you'd have to make sure the "markers" get moved around properly - wouldnt leave it up to the 16 year olds who are mostly responsible for packing shelves...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by X0563511 (793323)

      The product is placed as per store management, if it doesn't come from even higher.

      So, the clerks won't be the ones keeping the map data updated. The people altering the planograms would.

      Non-issue.

  • Hey Grandpa... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:45PM (#27768399)
    We know you're having trouble figuring out the whole "grocery store layout" concept and are trying to figure out an effective means to not shit yourself, but here's the newest 10 giga T5635 Garmin electro deluxe (now with 20% more marketing!!) to help you figure out the supermarket layout. Don't forget to check and make sure it's charged, updated with the new layouts, and make sure you angle it right so you can see it.

    Aren't we helpful???
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Thursday April 30, 2009 @12:07AM (#27768511) Journal
    Having worked in a large grocery store previously, I can tell you that a key reason for periodic rearrangement of items is specifically for the purpose of getting people to wander in the store longer, because the longer they are spending looking for something they want, the greater the chance that they will see something else they might like and pick that up too. Sure, there are also people who will get frustrated and leave without buying anything, but statistically speaking, the increased sales as a result of more impulse buying more than makes up for those lost sales. I once asked about this while I was there, and this is how it was explained to me. I was quick to point out the fact that customers don't leave as quickly would certainly carry an expense in the form of increased security requirements to keep shoplifting down, but apparently the increase in sales outweigh even that additional cost too.
    • by corsec67 (627446)

      There is definitely a compromise that catches me:

      You could have each individual store maintain their layout, but each store have a different layout. Then, if I walk into a different Safeway, I don't know of fruit/vegetables is to the right or left from the door, where the natural foods are, and so on.

      I often walk to the wrong end of the store because it isn't the same as the last Safeway I was in. (Of course, this only gets people who can choose to stop at one of 4 different Safeways on the way home from wo

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Which brings up a point about this technology: you could use it to send shoppers along circuitous routes, and send them past products you think they are likely to purchase. Those rewards cards give a lot of information on people purchasing certain things being likely to be susceptible to a "Special" on an item (which at my local Safeway anyway, usually brings it down to the price of the same stuff across town.)

  • Trivial Pursuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @12:36AM (#27768679)

    The first challenge for the elderly shopper is getting to the store.

    Then there is the problem is reading labels and prices.

    Getting the attention of the butcher.

    Managing bulky and heavy packages. Navigating the check out line with your pride and wallet intact. Making it home safely..,and packing everything away.

    Product placement is in three dimesions.

    Top shelf. Middle shelf, Bottom shelf. Traffic flow and product placement within the store are designed to maximize profits - not convenience.

    Management can be prickly about revealing schemes that work.

    What the elderly shopper needs isn't a high tech gadget. It's the box boy in the aisles. The kid willing to help out.

     

    • by bozojoe (102606)

      all solved with the all powerful Icart.

      navigation, carrying capacity, and good looks, all in one cart.

      four wheels of sexiness

  • I may have Alzheimer's, but at least I don't have Alzheimer's.
  • Ever since I got my iphone (last August), I have been relying heavily on it to map out efficient routes, and figure out where new places are.

    Now, every time I am in a new supermarket, and looking for bread or something, I immediately pull out my iphone, only to sadly realize that the bread isle at safeway isn't on google maps yet :-(

    I have seriously do this about twice a month.

  • There must be some new technology I've missed!
  • My siblings buy my parents high tech gifts thinking its trendy or will make life easier. But just about all of the gifts go right into the closet and collect dust. Most of the stuff is not easy to use and complicates life.
  • I had this same idea a while back, but my idea was for everyone. The carts would have a device on them. You could put in what you're looking for and it would direct you there. It could even be aware of the locations of other carts and try to plot the quickest path.

    Of course, stores would never go for it because it would get you in & out with less impulse buys.

  • I remember 10 years ago, that the local grocery store had electronic lists on their carts. The unit would indicate where everything was. It was pretty basic. It had a monochrome screen with discrete push buttons.

    I'd imagine that these days a touchscreen with images would make it really easy for even my grandmother to find things in the store. Just push the button for noodles then the button for spaghetti and its location appears on a map of the store.

    The store could even advertise weekly specials o
  • (sarcasm mode on) Yes, this is perfect-- it's a well-established fact that older people are uniformly technologically savy, and would always prefer getting a unfamiliar new high-tech gadget so that they can spend a few happy hours going down the learning curve, instead of using the previous technique, asking somebody.

    (/sarcasm)

  • "Sensors hidden in every cupboard door, appliance and utensil tell a central computer exactly what a dementia patient is doing at any time.

    If the kitchen thinks the individual has become confused, it projects written reminders of what to do next on to the closest wall."

    I sense a Diabolical Dance Dance Revolution coming along.... Could be a virtual Soylent Green of sorts... for those at their wits end..

    But, this sort of technology could be useful for tracking and directing house-arrest subjects; prisoners; u

  • Inability to receive satellite transmissions through the metal roof of a typical supermarket will be a minor problem to be worked out in beta testing.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

Working...