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CNet reports that several retailers and manufacturers are engaged in testing so-called “smart shelves” that can read radio waves emitted by microchips embedded in consumer packaged goods, therefore allowing them to more efficiently keep stores stocked with merchandise.

Wal-Mart in the US and Tesco in the UK are working on a test with Gillette, while Wal-Mart also is working with Procter & Gamble on a similar initiative.

In addition to tracking stock movement, the system also alerts store personnel if a product is being stolen.

Gillette has agreed to buy 500 million radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which contain the microchips that can communicate wirelessly with computers.

There remain privacy concerns about use of the technology, since conceivably the chips could still be read even after a product is sold and taken home by the consumer.
KC's View:
Now, if they can just come up with a machine to actually stock the shelves, we can eliminate people altogether from the shopping experience. Except, of course, for the customers…until the point, of course, when refrigerators start doing the ordering on their own.