In the not-too-distant future, technology might let you check out for your purchases without any need to scan tags, enter prices, or even read RFID tags. Thanks to visual recognition technology, items being purchased could be automatically identified just by the way they look.
A trial is underway at a bakery in Tokyo using Brain Corporation’s object recognition technology to automatically ring up items for purchase just by setting them onto a tray. A camera grabs an image of the items, and checks a database to match up the baked goods with their pricing. It works surprisingly well handling subtle variants of the same item – like 2 different loaves of bread. It’s a cool idea, and seems to work quite well in this particular application.
While I like the general concept, I could see problems with the system if you start dealing with multiple items that look the same on the outside, but have different insides (i.e. different memory configurations on an iPhone, or in this case a cherry croissant vs. a chocolate one.) Still, for items which can be identified by color, size and shape, it’s definitely got potential.
[via DigInfo TV]