Japanese company trains AI to recognize different types of bread and pastries and sells the technology to bakeries
- The Japanese technology company Brain Co. has developed a system to recognize baked products
- The AI-powered technology, called BakeryScan, is used in more than 400 bakeries
- The system evaluates bread by size, shape, color and surface patterns
Faces are far from the only thing that artificial intelligence researchers want computers to recognize.
A Japanese technology company has created an AI-powered camera system, called BakeryScan, that can recognize different types of bread and pastries.
The scanning tools were developed by the Japanese technology and media company Brain Co. and are currently being installed in more than 400 stores throughout Japan.
One of the technology's biggest customers is the Andersen Group, a chain of high-end Danish-inspired bakeries operating throughout Japan, according to a report from The Asahi Shimbun.
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BakeryScan (pictured above) is an AI powered cash register system that uses cameras & computers to identify different types of cakes
BakeryScan works via a camera that is mounted above an illuminated cash drawer.
Customers place their selections on the drawer and the camera then analyzes the bread or pastries, cataloging their size, shape and color to match them with up to 100 different types stored in the cash register system.
The cashier confirms the match via a touchscreen and then the customer pays.
The recognition process takes place in approximately one second.
BakeryScan analyzes bread for shape, size, color and drawing of different fillings and makes a decision in about a second
One of the challenges for the project was learning to distinguish baking products that look identical from the outside but have different fillings or ingredients.
The developers had to design a code that would allow the AI to recognize small spots where ingredients poke through the surface, or else look for faint shadow patterns on the surface that point to what's inside.
In cases where the recognition software cannot guarantee the accuracy of the find, a yellow border appears around the selection on the touch screen.
BakeryScan is currently used in more than 400 bakeries in Japan
HOW DOES BREADSCAN WORK?
BreadScan is an AI-driven POS system that is used in Japanese bakeries.
Customers place their desired bread or pastries on a tray at the checkout.
A camera above the tray photographs the baked goods and analyzes them for color, shape, size and drawing of different fillings.
Within a second, the AI identifies the bread or pastries and sends the information to a touchscreen for the cashier.
If the AI is not 100 percent sure of his selection, the choice is highlighted in yellow and the cashier makes the final decision.
The cashier then makes the final decision whether to overwrite or confirm the AI recommendation.
"There are more than 10,000 bread shops throughout the country," Brain told Hisashi Kanbe The Asahi Shimbun.
"I wanted to pitch our product on the huge market to help our company move forward."
Bread is perhaps just the start of a much larger and potentially more lucrative company.
Scientists from the Louis Pasteur Center for Medical Research in Kyoto have contacted Brain Co. to inquire about the use of technology to identify cancer, which they say resembles bread at the cellular level.
Identifying cancer cells to determine whether tumors are benign or malignant can be labor-intensive.
Having an AI assistant can significantly speed up the process and lead to earlier diagnoses and more effective treatment for patients.
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