If you've ever worked in retail as a salesperson or clerk, you know that there are tricks to get the barcode scanners to read certain products. If you've ever used a self-checkout lane at a store, you likely don't know those tips and tricks, making the experience less than ideal. However, self-checkout is here and not going anywhere, so how do we make the process easier? Mashgin has a new system that allows clerks and customers alike to checkout without any hassle.
Mashgin is a technology company that has put its focus on making retail checkout an easier process. Traditionally, checkout has been done using later scanners and barcodes - at least over the past few decades. But, Mashgin has changed this paradigm, making it easier for anyone without any training to log their purchased items, get a total, and pay their bill.
The company's Touchless Checkout System uses a series of cameras, object recognition, and artificial intelligence to scan products without a barcode. Simply place your items on the scanning platform, in any position, and in collections of more than one item, and the system does the rest. Using those cameras, the system is able to look at the platform and identify the items on the platform. It can then look up the price of the item and add it to your cart. Then, you can either replace the items or pay your bill and move on.
First of all, the ease of use is fantastic. Even if a store wants to implement this for clerks to use and not for customers, this can reduce lines and improve customer experiences. However, for self-checkout, customers of any age and technical skill can easily operate the system.
In addition, it means that scanning barcodes would be a thing of the past. While some items don't matter that much, some items can't have barcodes at all. Trying to look up and log an apple, for example, can be a hard prospect even for technically inclined users. With this, that concept goes away.
Technically, Mashgin can be used anywhere where product sales happen. However, there are a few places where it will really stand out. Take, for example, a grocery store or cafeteria with a self-serve food bar. A customer can walk around the bar (or bars) and take whatever items they want. Then, they take their tray to the checkout and place their tray on the platform. Using the camera array, it is able to identify that you've got a burger, mac and cheese, and nachos. It then adds those to your bill and lets you check out with your card or phone.
Now imagine you're at a movie theater and you want popcorn and a soda. The line at the theater can be incredibly long and you don't want to be late for your film. Once again, the person behind the counter can get you your items, or the items can be made available outside of the counter, and you can easily pay by going to the kiosk, rather than waiting for someone to ring up the items and take your payment.
The Mashgin product offerings are all currently available for retailers. If you are interested in learning more about the Mashgin Touchless Checkout System or the company's other products, you can check out their website.
Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.
Daniele is a software engineer at Lockheed Martin after graduating from Florida Polytechnic University. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLUGHITZ Live Presents and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.