… or maybe I should have called this iPhone: The Next Generation?

The handheld scanner lets customers keep a running tally as they work their way through the aisles, allowing them to spend more time shopping and less time waiting to check out.Today, personal scanners are more common in Europe, but their use is growing in the United States as grocers introduce high-tech tools that promise to make shopping more convenient and seem less like a chore.

The next step in self-checkout –



  1. csven said

    Only 12 years. I’d should post pictures of the concept models we did for Telxon (the company that birthed Aironet because Symbol’s patents *forced* them to go wireless).

    I’m noticing a lot of 10-year gaps. Virtual reality is on a similar time-delay. I’ve been wondering if rapid-manufacturing isn’t also on that delay.

    No problem. I can wait 10 years.

  2. Laurence said

    I think we’ll see a tipping point for some of these in a 3-5 year timeframe.

  3. csven said

    Perhaps. I know I’d like to see that time frame, but I keep thinking about the “people” component; the public part that sees any rendered avatar/virtual space as a “game”. They have to come to the realization that what’s happening affects their day-to-day lives. I just don’t see that in 5 years.

    With regard to rapid-manufacturing, while the tech is doing well and prices are dropping, the installed manufacturing base is going to resist the change, imo. I suspect it’ll very much be a grass roots push until people, especially in the West, realize what an extraordinary leveling effect it can have.

    All those molding machines being sent to Asia start to become irrelevant. Cheap labor can’t be cheap enough when the only issue is assembling a few parts. Rising oil prices will make ocean transport less and less viable, especially in a JIT, fab-on-demand environment.

    The part that concerns me is: how does this stuff bootstrap Africa and other parts of the severely underdeveloped world? and do so intelligently and with sensitivity?

    Whatever the timeframe, I just hope I’m around to see it.

  4. Laurence said

    I pretty much agree with you on all points here(especially wrt rebooting Africa). I’m being cautiously optimistic, trying to see the glass half full. I think there are reasons to hold that view – lots of things that will combine to nudge us to a “tipping point”. Perhaps a compelling eBay and/or Walmart entree, some major film tie-in(Cameron’s Avatar is coming in 2009). I’m planning to write something about this in more detail soon.

  5. ironperth said

    Well, I don’t think there will be that much resistance in developed economies who are getting undercut nastily by china/india/etc.

    I think it all comes down to the physics of the problem.

    But even that that might not be an issue as long as we can learn to turn every manufacturing problem as a fab problem. For example, I believe Ikea has done this brilliantly.

    For example, vehicles. I’d love to see the Ikea process of design and manufacturing turned on cars. Too bad people are such snobs when it comes to how things look.

  6. Laurence said

    Good points, though I think we’ll see a number of innovations in simpler products before cars. I’ve mentioned previously that the cost of 3D printers and related technologies have been dropping. Something coming from a Fabjectory, Xardas or one of their customers could be a catalyst.

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