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Bye Bye Barcode: Toshiba’s Supermarket Food Identity Scanner

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Barcodes? Who needs barcodes? A new scanner has been developed by Toshiba Tec that can recognize the various objects that you place in front of it, including a variety of produce. What this means is that the cashier doesn’t have to look up the code for that honeydew, banana, or orange. The camera-based scanner just recognizes it and charges you accordingly.

The scanner can also be used to recognize conventional barcodes on the various other items that your supermarket may carry, but the primary application here is for fresh produce. This can make the checkout process a heck of a lot faster, especially if the cashier isn’t familiar with all the product codes or can’t tell the difference between a Fuji apple and a Mutsu apple.

What helps is that the camera blacks out all the background information, eliminating all that distracting information that may otherwise interfere with the object recognition. Then, the software can better see the subtle differences in color, gradient, and so on to differentiate between the different produce items. Toshiba says that it will develop a growing database that can then be sent to the supermarkets directly.


About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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