More and more markets these days are offering customers the option of doing a self-checkout, where you can scan your own items into an automated register instead of standing in line. These are great at some stores, but when you have a cart full of fruits and vegetables that have no real bar codes, suddenly you find yourself with a lot of sympathy for every cashier who has ever had to look up prices on individual pieces of fruit. Popgadget mentioned a new gadget called a smart scale, currently being tested in Europe, that could make this little bit of the shopping process quicker and easier.
The Smart Scale has a camera built into it that can recognize any type of fruit or vegetable (that is programmed into its database) almost instantly, giving you an onscreen menu to quickly narrow down the type. It also, of course, gives you the weight and price per pound of that item. The camera is highly sensitive and can work through different types of plastic bags and common containers. It’s easy to see how the technology could be used for various bulk items, from nuts to rice to rolled oats – which means there would be no need to fiddle with paper tags and writing down the PLU codes from the bins on those items, or having to make sure the peach/plum/pluot is properly tagged and rung by a cashier, either.
Is this a substitute for dealing with a grower at a farmer’s market, or even with an employee at a smaller/more personal market? No, but as someone who shops in all kinds of stores, it doesn’t sound like a bad bit of technology to have available.