Toshiba’s new supermarket scanner “recognises food”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th March 2012

A new supermarket scanner, created by Japanese electronics manufacturer Toshiba Tec, is able to identify objects without the use of a barcode.

Instead of using a laser scanner, Toshiba’s ‘Object Recognition Scanner’ recognizes the food product itself using a high speed camera which discards the image’s unwanted background.

In a media statement, Toshiba said,“Ordinarily, with a camera, the surroundings would appear as well, but with the Object Recognition Scanner, only the subjects like apples appear. That means the noise is eliminated from the beginning, so the scanner can recognize objects very fast, even if they’re moving.

“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 recognise some items, which can cause delays. We’re developing this new scanner to solve that problem.”

As well as different varieties of fruits and vegetables, the scanner is able to recognise packaging and coupons.

Toshiba said it is currently fine-tuning the technology before it is made available for use in supermarkets.