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Shop 'til you drop with Budgee robotic basket

No one likes to haul shopping purchases, but would you pay $1,400 for a robot cart that follows you around?

The hip-high Budgee robot follows an ultrasonic pinger in your pocket while you shop.
IEEE Spectrum

I'd usually rather watch paint dry than go shopping, but a bit of robotic technology makes the whole prospect far more appealing.

Budgee is a shopping robot that automatically follows you around. No more cart-jockeying, basket-lugging, or even using your recyclable bag.

Just dump your stuff into Budgee and it'll keep following you. It may run over a few things in the process, but as long as you don't have to work, who cares?

Shown off recently at RoboBusiness 2013 in Santa Clara, Calif., Budgee was developed by New Jersey-based startup Five Elements Robotics, which plans to launch it on Kickstarter.

It's similar to FTR Systems' Caddytrek, a $2,500 robot golf caddy that follows you around the links.

Budgee follows the signal from an ultrasonic homing device you put in your pocket. Its only other sensors seem to be a bump sensor and a drop-off sensor, so you might have to help it find its way around obstacles.

You can set the follow range on the Budgee app, as well as the color of the robot's illuminated "eyes."

The two-wheeled cart can carry up to 50 pounds and has a locking mechanism to secure your purchases.

One of the best aspects about Budgee is that it can fold up into a portable form. It has a handle and weighs only 5 pounds.

Five Elements suggests Budgee would be perfect for trips to the mall, the local amusement park, or even when going to work. But according to IEEE Spectrum, it'll have a price tag of $1,400. Is that low enough for you to consider buying one? We'll learn more about Budgee when it hits Kickstarter in November.

IEEE Spectrum