Besides the elderly gentleman paying in nickels, the biggest holdup at supermarket checkouts is the cashier finding an item’s barcode and properly scanning. So Toshiba has developed a faster camera-based system that recognizes the food, packaged or fresh.
“Fruit and vegetables in supermarkets don’t usually have barcodes, because they’re put out while they’re fresh. So these items can’t be read at the register using barcodes, which means staff need to input data to record them. If staff are part-time employees, they may not recognize some items, which can cause delays. We’re developing this new scanner to solve that problem.”
The system uses pattern recognition technology, so it can identify labels or packaging, as well as fresh items like fruits or vegetables that are typically lacking even barcodes. Mistakes are reduced since cashiers don’t need to punch in codes for fresh items, and the system is fast enough to recognize items even when they’re in motion.
As well as fruits and vegetables, the scanner can recognize printed items, such as beer cans and coupons.