Smart shelves and high-tech sensors for the supermarket of the future

In the heart of Milan, the homeland of Italian fashion and the city of innovation and technology there is the supermarket of the future developed by Carlo Ratti Associati for a big Italian food retailer.

The project of the supermarket of the future made its first appearance at World Expo 2015 in Milan. It was a prototype of how the next-generation supermarket should look like. The technology that has been designed to create this state-of-the-art flagship store is developed by Carlo Ratti Associati for Coop Italia, Italian big supermarket chain.
A unique shopping experience that is based on the Internet of Things, Cloud and Microsoft body detection sensors. Smart shelves, interactive food tables and real time data visualization are some of the main features of this shop of the digital era.
At this next-gem supermarket of the future, shoppers can choose among 6,000 products that are displayed on large interactive tables. They can also have additional information about the food. In fact, the supermarket is equipped with body detection sensors that is able to interpret customers’ gestures and all the details about the food appear on a suspended digital mirror. It is a sort of augmented label which communicates the nutritional properties, the origins, the waste disposal instructions and other information related to the products.

Inside the Supermarket of the Future the storytelling element is reinforced by a 20-meter long live data visualization wall, composed of 54 monitors, where customers can view information about store merchandise, including special offerings, cooking suggestions, social media posts and daily top selling products.

It is also interesting to know that what inspired Carlo Ratti in the developing of this innovative shop was the Italian novel Palomar by Italo Calvino.  In particular the scene where the protagonist Mr. Palomar enters a fromagerie in Paris and it seems like he is in a museum. A great literary experience that shows the identity hidden behind each product and thanks to technology can come out.

Innovation and technology 4.0

Digital transformation

Editorial staff

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The Supermarket of the Future
Photo credits: Carlo Ratti Associati