Besides the elderly gentleman paying in nickels, the biggest holdup at supermarket checkouts is the cashier finding an item's barcode and properly scanning. So Toshiba has developed a faster camera-based system that recognizes the food, packaged or fresh.

The system uses pattern recognition technology, so it can identify labels or packaging, as well as fresh items like fruits or vegetables that are typically lacking even barcodes. Mistakes are reduced since cashiers don't need to punch in codes for fresh items, and the system is fast enough to recognize items even when they're in motion.

Of course it still won't stop the line from being held up as someone contests the ten cent yogurt coupon the store won't accept, but it's a step in the right direction of making grocery shopping easier to endure. [DigInfo via Ubergizmo]