News Article

The DS Isn't Just for Gaming, It Can Help With Shopping Too

Posted by Trevor Chan

Turning visits to the supermarket into a real-time strategy game

What makes technology so marvelous is the multitude of tasks we can get a single piece of hardware to do. Single women (and men, we suppose) can probably find more than one use for an electric toothbrush, drivers prone to getting lost can use their phone to make calls as well as turning it into a sat-nav device, and now it seems it's not only possible gamers to raise a virtual pet on their DS, but getting the grocery shopping done in record-breaking time too. What a golden age we live in.

What happens when we can't find what we're looking for in our local supermarket? Do we soldier on and waste precious minutes looking for it ourselves, or do we give in and seek assistance from the spotty teenager in the creased uniform? If both of these options sound like a chore, you might be in luck.

A patent for a shopping application assigned to Nintendo of America has been filed and it's capable of running on handheld devices such as the Nintendo DS. Using an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) sytem, the application would help shoppers by displaying where certain items are placed via a product database. Price comparisons can also be made on products between different stores.

Utilising an in-store wireless user network, shoppers would be able to generate their own shopping lists and should an item be unavailable, the program would be configured to make substitutions with comparable products. If this patent ever makes it out of the United States Patent Application office and materialise as an actual DS application, it will be one of those occasions where users won't have to freak out if they put eggs and milk on their DS. Kitchen towels are always going to be in aisle four.

[via appft.uspto.gov]

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User Comments (28)

KiroX777

#6

KiroX777 said:

ok if the dsi had an open source code like the iphone, this piece of would have been old news... any way, i agree with 3

Skotski

#8

Skotski said:

I already use my DSi for shopping... I just use myNotebook for a shopping list and the mario calculator to calculate the prices.
...it works.
I also take pictures of things I might want to purchase in the future.

...I probably use my DSi more than most people.

theblackdragonAdmin

#9

theblackdragon said:

that's actually kinda cool. Apple announced a similar patent back in August, i think, so people who don't want to buy it for the DS/i can probably pick up a similar app for their iPhone when it eventually hits.

bro2dragons

#12

bro2dragons said:

electric toothbrush comment is fantastic. :D i love the way NL pushes the limits while still remaining family-friendly. kinda mirrors Ninty itself, in a way. genius.

Egg_miester

#13

Egg_miester said:

this has a fantastic future use from moving beyond super markets
allowing use of download town maps to sd card and letting the game to read them for gps

ToastyYogurt

#17

ToastyYogurt said:

It would probably work as a DSiWare app, but whatever you do, don't put it a cartridge. This looks like it's worth $2-$5, not $10-$30.

Iggy

#18

Iggy said:

Im looking foward to this it looks like this app would be really useful.

Starwolf_UK

#19

Starwolf_UK said:

I can't see a supermarket wanting to hand over the RFID data to a third party, that stuff is already enough of a controversy (do the tags get switched off?) plus supermakrets are designed to get you lost so you impulse buy random stuff (that and "special offers" of varying goodness, for instance one offer I bought today was basically buy one get one free as I saved 98p while the other was 18p which is a much smaller percentage gain as I got lazy and didn't do that maths).

Also the tags are presumably enabled while in the shop so won't the system end up finding other customers with the item as much as it finds the item.

Of course, I'm assuming RFIDs are set by the supermarket and not the manufacturer of the goods sold.

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#21

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

"Single women (and men, we suppose) can probably find more than one use for an electric toothbrush..."
WINNNNNNNNN! WINWINWINWINWIN!!!!! :* :* :* :*

NGpenguin

#22

NGpenguin said:

that seems helpful but..... what if your in a game department?????

heres what might happen
COP:Ngpenguin! your under arreset for stealing a dsi! ME: What!?, but this is mine you silly cop. COP: yeah right get him!

so nintendo should probaly inform stores that people will be carring around there dsi`s for shoping

RaylaxStaff

#25

Raylax said:

I always enjoy brushing my teeth with something that's been shoved [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST]

MeloMan

#26

MeloMan said:

Hopefully enough of the grocery stores I go to "would" have their wi-fi in place so I "could" utilize this.

Other than that, I agree w/ both #13 and #8

theblackdragonAdmin

#28

theblackdragon said:

@HapsEllyBooo: not necessarily... sometimes two stores in the same chain will be laid out entirely different from one another, or one store will carry an item and another won't. or what about entering a store for the very first time, like shopping while visiting family halfway across the country? idk if it's true for the UK because it's so small in comparison, but there's all kinds of regional stores that stick to maybe one area of the US. you could go your whole life without ever having to shop at a Publix, Food Lion, or Piggly Wiggly, for example, if you never visit certain parts of the South.

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