I happen to love the automated checkout lines at the supermarket, but I hate the five or six seconds of my day that are wasted there when I have to manually input the name of the produce I'm weighing on the scale. Lucky for me, and for other lazy people who absolutely have to have those five seconds back, there's a new development in automated checkout scales that could revolutionize the supermarket industry. Here's a hint: It's like facial recognition, but for fruit!

The scale, developed by the German Fraunhofer Institute, works by snapping an image of the fruit or vegetable in question and comparing it to a produce database. If you're one of the Earth-hating people who needs their fruit wrapped in plastic bags, don't worry, because the scale's image processing can see through them. It can even differentiate between various pieces of fruit that are at different stages of ripeness (yellow versus green bananas, for example).

The 300 or so scales in the field now are being tested in Europe, with US plans taking shape for the near future. [I4U via OhGizmo]