A new food recognition scanner developed by Toshiba Tec may change the way we shop, and potentially the way we maintain information about perishable food. The Object Recognition Scanner utilizes pattern and color recognition technology to identify fresh and packaged food items, via a camera.
“Fruit and vegetables in supermarkets don’t usually have bar codes because they’re put out while they’re fresh, so these items can’t be read at the register using bar codes, which means staff need to input data to record them,” said Toshiba employee Keiichi Hasegawa. “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.”
For the technology to become feasible, Toshiba must first create a database of produce and typical supermarket items, writes Diginfo.
“Getting the scanner to learn items in a store isn’t practical, so we’ll ship it with a database of agricultural produce and other items as needed,” said Hasegawa. “It takes a year for all vegetables to appear in their seasons, so for a machine to read them, we have to create a database. So that anyone can use the scanner without needing to practice, it has to be able to read items consistently, whether they’re touching it, far away from it, or moving. Our main task in development from now on is tuning the scanner so it can do that.”