Observation + Labs: Digital and Analog

For this week’s assignment, I decided to observe people using CVS’ self check-out machine. It involves three steps: scanning your items, placing your scanned items into the bag and pay with either credit card or cash.

I find this piece of interactive technology very convenient to use. However, I recalled taking a few tries to learn how to operate it properly when I was first introduced to it and hence I wanted to see how other people interact with the machine.

As soon as the customer approaches the machine, it will voice out “please scan your items”. It is a rather simple instruction to follow yet most customers have trouble locating the sensor which is on the platform below the screen. When after successfully detecting the sensor, many customers were not aware of what the sensor scans. Some tried to point different angles of the product towards the sensor before realizing that the barcode of the product is what the sensor responds to.

After scanning the product, customer is instructed to place the item into the bag next to the sensor on the lower level. Customers with two or less items who weren’t planning on using CVS’ plastic bag would sometimes place their items on the same level as the sensor or directly into their bag. However, the machine would not be able to detect that action and would not proceed the transaction. Most customers ended up just placing their items into the plastic bag even if they didn’t need one which was a waste of resources yet most people wouldn’t bother to wait for staff’s assistant.

Like Crawford and Victor’s emphasis on human’s participation in interactivity, the self check-out machine will respond to the customer’s action and will proceed until the transaction has been completed. It is not the smoothest interactivity because the machine could only respond to limited scenarios. Therefore, next to the self check-out machines are two traditional check out counters with staff for customers who are not comfortable with the machines or those who preferred interacting with another human rather than a screen. For that reason, traditional check out counters cannot be completely replaced by self check-out machines.


Week 3:

After this week’s lab activity, I am starting to develop a better understanding of how Arduino functions. I am still not quite sure how to get creative with theses assignments due to my limited skills but I hope I will be able to make something fun later on!

Documentation of Digital Input&Output + Analog Input Lab:

Digital Input and Output

Analog Input

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