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­c Berkeley Team Builds 'smart' Grocery Cart With Recycled Smartphones

A user accessing information through the recycled smartphone on the TouchCart.

The winning product concept of the inaugural Smartphone Encore Challenge was a small grocery car equipped with a recycled smartphone.

Credit: TouchCart

A smart grocery cart was the winning product concept in the inaugural Smartphone Encore Challenge.

Developed by a team of students from the University of California, Berkeley, the TouchCart provides grocery shoppers with shopping lists, a store catalog and item finder, a customer service line, and scanning capabilities that would enable them to bypass checkout lines.

Sprint, Brightstar, and Hobi International organized the challenge, which charged participants with finding innovative ways to use recycled smartphones to help address the growing issue of electronic scrap.

The Berkeley team, led by computer science and economics major Ken Chew, will receive $5,000 and strategic guidance on how to turn TouchCart into a new product for the commercial market.

Twenty-five teams were involved in the challenge, and two runner-ups also were selected. One runner-up was a team from Ohio State University, which developed an onboard monitoring device for vehicles that can calculate automobile insurance premiums based on individual driving behaviors. The second runner-up, a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, turned an obsolete smartphone into an affordable computer for school-aged children.

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