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B.O.S.S. shopping cart follows you around

Darren Murph
08.11.06
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If you're scouting out colleges to showcase your robot crafting skills, make sure the University of Florida is given some very strong consideration. Fresh off of a second straight victory at the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition, the kids in Gainesville are flaunting another robotic creation that can make shopping a lot easier (and a lot safer). Gregory Garcia, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, developed a shopping cart that not only follows you around the store, but keeps a steady pace while cruising and throws on the brakes before clipping someone's heels. Garcia got the inspiration for the B.O.S.S. (Battery Operated Smart Servant) from his (presumably mischievous) little sister, who enjoyed ramming into his legs as a child while manning the buggy. A number of sensors aid the cart's maneuvering techniques, including a color sensor which allows the shopper to hold a piece of fabric behind them for the B.O.S.S. to keep track of -- it apparently accelerates and decelerates based on the speed and distance of the fabric ahead, and Garcia made quite certain that the shopping cart could stop on a dime in order to prevent those awkward heel injuries. While we're not sure how the cart would perform during the madness of holiday shopping, especially if it tried to follow every white (or green, or red) article of clothing around, but we're sure Gregory had a grand 'ole time finally showing that heel-biting cart who's boss.

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