Walmart is adding augmented reality to its iPhone app in a tool that helps customers to compare products.
Walmart hackathon winners
Unlike a standard bar code scanner, which only allows you to compare the price of a single item, Walmart's new scanner can be used across the shelves. It offers details on prices and customer reviews of all products it comes across.
The technology was first developed at an internal Walmart hackathon with Apple's ARKit technology. At that point the idea was to develop a faster scanner that offered more than just price comparisons. The team won the hackathon and continued to develop the concept.
Easier and faster than scanning bar codes
“Walmart store shoppers love using our mobile app bar code scanner as a price checker. Our team sees the potential of this product as so much more, though,” explains Walmart Labs' senior engineering manager Tim Sears to Tech Crunch. “When a customer launches the scanner, they get a direct connection between the digital and the physical world that their screen and camera lens creates for them."
To use the scanner in the Walmart app, you point the camera at the products you want to compare on the shelf. Moving the phone from one item to the next, the product label at the bottom of the screen will display additional information such as the product's name, its price and its star rating based on Walmart.com reviews. A link to related products is also available. Augmented reality should make scanning bar codes easier and quicker. So far, the application is only available for more recent iPhone models.
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