Bodega Smart Kiosks Use Image Recognition

Bodega, a new start-up by two former Google employees, has raised $2.5 million in its first financing round.

The company aims to streamline shopping for non-perishable convenience items like snacks, drinks and household products, with its app-controlled smart kiosks.

The kiosks will be situated in spots such as apartment buildings, gyms and offices. Using image recognition software, built-in cameras will be able to detect people approaching the kiosk, as well as what they’re taking out, automatically charging the user’s account and keeping tabs on who’s buying what for stock replenishment purposes.

There are currently 30 Bodega kiosks scattered around the Bay Area. However, the launch of the business has caused some controversy since its launch earlier this week.

Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, the duo behind Bodega, have been forced to defend their choice of name after sparking outrage on social media and the streets of San Francisco. McDonald responded via a blog post, apologising for any offence caused and reiterating that the kiosks are designed to complement traditional bodegas, not put them out of business.

Analyst Comment

We included this story because it shows a kiosk function without a display as it uses the physical objects to track what is happening rather than making the user use a display. That’s a new approach and I can’t remember seeing a self-service kiosk without a display before. I’m staying, during IBC, at a ‘serviced apartment’ location and I could see the advantage of this kind of system in that kind of location. (BR)