Wal­mart wants to mon­i­tor shop­pers’ fa­cial ex­pres­sions

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - JEF­FER­SON GRA­HAM

In the fu­ture, Wal­mart shop­pers may not have to ask for help. Just a sim­ple scowl could sum­mon a help­ful worker ready to as­sist.

A re­cent patent fil­ing sug­gests new ways the largest re­tailer in the United States wants to get even closer to its cus­tomers: a video sys­tem that a sys­tem keeps tabs on cus­tomers’ fa­cial ex­pres­sions as they move through the store and the move­ments at check­out lines.

While Wal­mart isn’t ex­plicit about what it has in mind, and a spokesper­son could not be reached for com­ment, the sys­tem ap­par­ently en­vi­sions us­ing video to scan for cus­tomers who are frus­trated or un­happy so help can be dis­patched. A shop­per, for in­stance, might not be able to find a prod­uct or can’t fig­ure out pric­ing.

Con­versely, store man­agers could use the sys­tem to de­ter­mine when they have a hit on their hands — a dis­play or prod­uct that de­lights shop­pers.

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