Self-Updating LCD Grocery Shelf Labels Are Pure Genius

It seems the rumours of e-ink based displays' imminent death at the hands of tablets were greatly exaggerated. Despite a glut of portable colour screen devices now on the market, ebook readers are more popular than ever, and a company called ZBD Solutions now wants to use the e-ink technology as easily updateable store signage.

The company has developed a special low-power, black and white LCD display that holds an image even when no power's applied. So like with typical e-ink technology, it doesn't require a constant source of current to show text and images.

The tiny signs are also all wirelessly networked together, so when an item goes on sale, someone simply needs to update a central database instead of wandering the store with a sticker gun. And because the technology is LCD-based with a fast refresh, there's nothing stopping them from introducing eye-catching animations too. Wait, maybe that's not a good thing. [ZBD Solutions via PSFK]



    These things have been around for a while now.
    When I went to Singapore, literally all of the supermarkets had them.

    This is one of those, "Oh shit why didn't I think of that, I'm such a retard" ideas.

    Awesome. Simple and Awesome. Realtime price fluctuation - but will it be used? Future headline, 'Coles & Woolworths have been hacked - all items $2 until they can find the security breach!'

    They'd probably be better off using PoE than wireless - sure the initial infrastructure costs will be higher, but the system won't be able to be hacked through the wireless and there won't be any issues with them running out of batteries.

    This is very cool, and can be used in lots of different retail applications, not just grocery. I run a lighting store and could use this tomorrow depending on price.

      i must be tired... i read that as "I run a lightning store..." then i was very disappointed.

    Very nice but I think to expensive for supermarkets, a printed price ticket costs next to nothing and a large supermarket would need thousands of these and they only make a few cents profit per dollar.

      The big supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths use a scanning code of practice. Any item that scans above the above the ticketed price becomes waste. They give it to the customer gratis. This could be a viable waste reduction technology.

      The Item Free Policy
      If the price displayed at the checkout or on the customer receipt is higher than the shelf price, the customer is entitled to receive that item free of charge.

      The Shelf Price is the price of an individual item that appears on a shelf label or shelf price label.

      The Shelf Label or Shelf Price Label means the sign or label showing the price of individual items at the place where the product is displayed for sale to the customer.

      The item free policy does NOT cover goods that are “item priced”.
      The item free policy does NOT cover goods where the shelf price is $50 or greater.

      The Multiple Purchases Policy
      Where multiple items bearing identical bar codes, or the same PLU number, are scanned and the scanned price is higher than the shelf price, the customer is entitled to receive the first item scanned free of charge and the remaining items at the lower price (that is, the shelf price).


      Last edited 01/12/12 8:39 pm

        Not to mention all the time and spent replacing them no longer needed.

    I have been wanting something like this for years

    Identical LCD shelf labelling was around in the 80's - into the 90's a near twist was added - transmitting the data using the stor'es fluorescent lighting.

    Oh well maybe the old patents have lapsed and the e-ink is a nice evolution.

    An IGA in Claisebrook (inner Perth suburb) have little LCD shelf labels. They've been there for at least 4 years, but using e-ink is an excellent idea.

    I work for woolies and this would be fantastic, but nobody will trust them, they'll accuse us of changing them between the shelf and them getting to the checkout. you wouldn't believe what sorta shit people try to get free stuff with the scanning policy.

    I thought of this many years ago -___- god damnit, why couldn't I have been old enough to actually apply the thought!

    The suburb of "Claisebrook" that you mention is better known by its actual name of East Perth. And yeah as a regular I can confirm it's been there for quite a while already though I'm not sure if they use it to the full capacity in terms of providing timed pricing/discounts.. The prices stay conistantly static

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