Japanese electronics manufacturing giant Toshiba has developed a supermarket scanner that can identify food and price it without a barcode. Here's how it works:
Instead of barcodes, the scanner uses a camera to identify objects—so fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t usually have barcodes can be automatically identified and input by staff more easily.
Only objects put in front of the ‘Object Recognition Scanner’ (ORS) are ‘illuminated’ on screen and seen by the camera, so that noise in the background of the object does not interfere and confuse the scanner.
The scanner can recognize objects while they’re moving, the difference between different types of similar objects (such as, a Fuji apple, a Jonagold, and a Matsu apple), and even beer cans and coupons.
To differentiate similar objects, the camera recognizes the subtle different patterns in color and pattern.
Whether this new innovation in supermarket technology will speed up our checkout times or result in some cashiers becoming even lazier is anybody's guess, but one thing's for sure-if this machine can tell the difference between types of produce it should help prevent overcharging at the checkout counter.