Thanks to its reliability, machine vision cameras can be used in various ways in automated retail systems, such as self check-out systems, reverse vending machines or money machines.
In order to prevent frauds, cameras are incorporated in modern money machines. The camera can record the user during the operation and additionally coupled with face recognition. If no face is identified, no money may be withdrawn. Cameras can similarly check money withdrawal or monitor the pin pad in order to avoid changes (skimming). With built-in cameras, money machines are capable of video communication in order to advise the customer, if necessary.
Check-out systems are known as vision systems for scanning the purchased goods, either automatically, or manually by a salesperson. In these systems, machine vision cameras are checking labels or barcodes to recognize and identify the products. Using special line cameras, the features of the goods on the conveyor are recorded, and can be recognized automatically, and even weighed if necessary (for example in case of fruits and vegetables). Comprehensively equipped systems are able to continuously update the inventory control system as well.
Reverse vending machines
Reverse vending machines in supermarkets are mostly used to accept empty containers like returnable bottles or drink boxes. In the process, containers are weighed and scanned by digital cameras. With such a machine vision application, empty containers can be sorted automatically into divided containers according to their material and color. Reverse vending machines are also used in libraries for book and media returns, where also a machine vision camera scans and recognizes the objects. In these solutions, cameras must provide high resolution, image quality, and easy integration.
With self-service vending machines, customers can access different items regardless of store opening times. Beside food or beverages, even public transportation tickets and parking fees are usually sold from self-service vending machines. Vending machines with integrated cameras are able to provide real time video calls with advisers. For more expensive products, vision system can monitor the payment process or give customized recommendations after recognizing the customer.
Machine vision applications are also used in retail for kiosk systems set up on the street, airports or in store zones. Digital signage systems or digital posters are also can take advantages of vision systems for image processing in order to count passing people and provide customized content.
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