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Researchers at the Pervasive Interaction Lab of the Open University at Milton Keynes (UK) developed a Lambent Shopping Trolley Handle [changeproject.info]. The augmented shopping handle provides people with nutritional, ethical and environmental product information where and when actual shopping decisions are being made.

The handle, consisting of an integrated barcode scanner and a row of 16 multi-colour LEDs, clips onto any supermarket trolley to show relevant product information via changes in patterns and colors. These product characteristics can be nominal (e.g. organic versus containing nuts), ordinal (e.g. low, medium or high food miles), as well as a combination of the two at the same time.

The Trolley Handle was the subject of an in-situ evaluation study [PDF], in which the researchers investigated the handle's true impact on shopping behavior. They found that when the Lambent Shopping Trolley Handle displayed the food miles of products, 72% of the time shoppers were nudged to select products with lower food miles compared to when they shopped without the handle. There was no nudge effect for shopper's favorite products (for example, a particular brand of chocolate) or items that they strongly disliked (for example, blue cheese). When shoppers saw that the average food miles of the items they had selected was above the norm, they tended to scan more products and select ones with lower food miles.

Watch the explanatory documentation video below.

Kalinikaité, V., Rogers, Y., Bird, J., Bachour, K., Villar, N., Payne, S., Todd, P. M., Schöning, J., Krüger, A. and Kreitmayer, S. (2011) How to Nudge In Situ: Designing Lambent Devices to Deliver Information Salience in Supermarkets. Proceedings of Ubicomp, 11-20.