New Grocery Checkout Scanner Identifies Produce and Packaged Goods Without Barcodes

Posted March 9, 2012

A new supermarket scanner from Toshiba Tec may make conventional barcode scanners in supermarkets unnecessary.

Toshiba produce scanner

At most supermarkets a laser barcode scanner is used to read barcodes of packaging and produce stickers. The newly developed Object Recognition Scanner instantly recognizes merchandise directly by appearance with a camera, be it fresh produce or packaged goods.

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.

In this demo, there are three kinds of apples: Fuji, Jonagold, and Mutsu. The Fuji and Jonagold originally come from the same stock, so if you’re not really familiar with apples, they might look the same. But this scanner can distinguish them, by recognizing subtle differences in pattern and coloration.

This is an impressive technology, but definitely has limits. It is unlikely the technology can currently distinguish an expensive organic apple from its non-organic twin.

Filed under: Barcode News