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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Intel Cash Register Knows Who You Are, What You Want

Asking the question: “Do you know who I am?” is not likely to score you any points at the store, even in these trying economic times. But Intel wants to change that with a proof of concept cash register that knows not only who you are, but also what you want.

The prototype till, to be unveiled Monday at the National Retail Federation show in New York, aims to bring Amazon-style recommendations to the meatspace market.

Though Intel conceived of the machine, it’s not getting into the point of sale business. This prototype won’t go into production. Instead, it is meant to highlight a new direction for retail terminals — made possible (naturally) by the chipmaker’s newest processors. “We wanted to show the future,” says Ryan Parker, of Intel’s Embedded Computing Division. “And people don’t like looking at motherboards.”

For help wrapping up its silicon, Intel turned to Frog Design, the San Francisco-based outfit known for both objects (Apple IIc) and interfaces (Dell.com). Frog took a depressing look at “modern” machines — which average five years old — and came up with a concept that replaces today’s haphazard agglomeration of cash-box, signature pad and barcode scanner with a triple-touchscreen aluminum altar of lights that looks like a pinball machine from the Holodeck.

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