At first glance, this new development in scanning technology seems to eliminate the need for barcode and RFID, but is the new Toshiba scanner really the end of barcodes?

By using food recognition technology, the new Toshiba scanners cut down time in a checkout line by eliminating manual food code entry. The scanners recognize food by pattern and color, and they are particularly useful for produce. Fruits and vegetables are not typically barcoded at the item level, and so, employees have to add the items by entering codes. If the employee does not have all the codes memorized (which can be quite the extensive list), this can be cumbersome and timely. The new Toshiba scanners were created to resolve these issues by eliminating the code entry process and cut down on delays as a result.

Needless to say, produce and vegetable recognition on their own can present complications towards the practicality of this new scanner. How will seasonal items be handled? Variations? Impulse items? According to Toshiba, the scanner can recognize what sort of fruit is being shown (apple, pear, banana) and even identify the variety (bartlett, anjou). It would be interesting to know how the database is built (store-level, national, international).

Although this new scanner seems to be just brimming with potential, there may be many limitations to its use expanding into markets outside of food and grocery applications. Even within certain stores, this scanner could present problems – what about limited time products? Non-food items? Do these scanners also have barcode reading capabilities? How would they fit into other markets?

What do you think about this new scanner and its potential applications?

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