Innovative Retail Technologies - Practical Block Seminar

In this practical block seminar we will focus on the development of systems that demonstrate advances in innovative retail technologies. In the course of the seminar you will closely work with a “customer” (i.e., a member of our chair) supervising a specific topic in relation to this. You (together with other students) will elicit requirements from the customer. Afterwards, you will develop hardware and/or software components with the goal to realize a prototypical demonstrator that has the chance to become a permanent exhibition in the Innovative Retail Laboratory (IRL) in St. Wendel.

In this seminar, we aim to simulate the later “daily work” of computer scientists (and related fields) and also Usability/UX professionals. All projects that are offered by the customers can be found here.You will see the demands of the different projects (in the form of requirements that were already formulated by the customer) along with the grading scheme. This helps you to pick suitable projects in terms of required skills and demand.

You need to pre-register for the course. The registration is now closed - no late registration will be considered. The actual distribution of project topics will happen in the kickoff meeting. We need to point out that it is obligatory for every student to pre-register AND to attend the kickoff meeting, otherwise you cannot participate in the seminar. This is a strict policy, no exceptions will be made.



The main task of the seminar will be done in a block course style:

  • Kickoff: 01.02.2019, 4pm-5pm (room Turing 1+2: DFKI, new building +2.30 and +2.31). The kickoff slides can be found here.
  • Requirements meeting 1 & 2 and the component ordering requests deadline (if applicable) will be agreed upon with the corresponding customer and your team.
  • Implementation phase (timeframe: from kickoff to final presentation): You can immediately start after the kickoff. As we know that there are exams, it is ok to start later, but you need to meet the following deadlines (and the additional milestone deadlines agreed upon together with the customer, see below):
  • Intermediate presentations: 15.03.2019, 10am-(max) 4pm (room Reuse DFKI, main building -2.17)
  • Final presentations: 05.04.2019, 10am-(max) 4pm (room Reuse DFKI, main building -2.17)

Similar to the kickoff meeting, you need to be present on the intermediate and the final presentation, otherwise you will fail the seminar. Please plan accordingly. 

Everyone who wants to participate in the seminar is required to be present. Here, we will explain the idea of the seminar and distribute the projects.  

Requirements meeting 1 & 2
In two sessions, the initial project ideas and further requirements should be discussed with the customer. The goal is that both parties (students and customer) have a clear understanding of the project and the expected outcome. The result of the meetings is an ongoing document in which the must-haves and may-haves are enumerated. In addition, the responsibilities in your team should be clearly assigned in this document, i.e., who is responsible for which component/which requirement (if applicable). The parties will also define milestones for the implementation phase (in addition to the intermediate and final presentation).

Component ordering requests
In case you need specific hard- or software (which you can discuss with your customer), you need to clarify the concrete list of components early on. Otherwise, you might be stuck in your project progress (ordering components might take long - so do this asap!).

Implementation phase
Depending on the project, the hard- and/or software should be realized. The customers will be available to assist you and to monitor progress (as defined by the milestones).

Intermediate presentation
All groups will present their projects in a 15-minutes long presentation. The goal is to elaborate on the ideas of the project, to show the current state (and potential issues) and talk about aspects that the groups will realize until the final presentation. The intermediate presentation counts 10% to the grade.

Final presentation
All groups demonstrate their projects in an exhibition style. All customers will be available to see the efforts of your work and to try out and discuss the projects with you. This presentations counts 20% to the grade. The remaining 70% of the grade are based on the project itself.

If the prototypes fulfill the requirements and are visually appealing, there is a high chance that we integrate these into our permanent exhibition at Globus in St. Wendel, in our Innovative Retail Laboratory. In consequence, a good performance in the seminar also opens up further job opportunities in this context as well. One example could be that you continue working on the prototypes as a “Hiwi” to further extend the functionalities.



Pascal Lessel, Felix Kosmalla, Marco Speicher

Please note: for project-specific questions, ask the corresponding customer.