Saturday, December 25, 2010

No. 219: No more bar code on the package for payment at the cashier (December 25, 2010)

Image recognition technology has been making a remarkable progress these days. It has become possible to tell the species of an apple from color and luster. Toshiba built a trial system that tells the product name and its price instantly using the camera image. The new system allows the cashier to check out by simply holding vegetable and bread over the camera, eliminating the necessity to scan the bar codes. The computer spots the subtle difference of color and luster. In the experiment, the system successfully told 30 items including carrot and paprika at an accuracy rate of higher than 90%. The company plans to put this technology into practical used in 2-3 years for cashiers at retailers and supermarket to mitigate the congestion that annoys the shoppers. The camera memorizes shot images of the products and specifies them by color, figure, and marking, and it repeats the process of memorization in case of false recognition. Because electronic payment is growing popular among shoppers in Japan, faster checking out with the help of this newly-developed system is expected to add momentum to the spread of electronic payment.

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