We all get stuck at the supermarket checkout from time to time when the assistant can’t get an item’s bar code to scan. We’re left watching in awkward silence as the flustered employee waves the item every which way, upside down, back and forth, at an angle, until they’re left literally rubbing it on the scanner in the vain hope that the machine will do us all a favor, recognize that it’s a loaf of bread and beep.
No beep means caving in and keying in the code. Of course, that’s no great hardship, but it takes time, and when the checkout has a whole load of people waiting in line, it’s no fun for anyone.
But thanks to engineers at Japanese electronics company Toshiba, those days may soon be over. They’ve come up with a scanner that can recognize items — no bar code required. The Object Recognition Scanner (ORS) works by utilizing pattern and color recognition technology being developed by the company.