This article has been out for a few weeks, but it just crossed my desk today.  Some fascinating work going on in IBM labs, and it's so rare we hear about it all.

That's right, folks, IBM has finally come up with a product that can spot the difference between rutabaga and arugula. IBM's chief fruit and vegetable differentiator Teresita Krueger (no, seriously, this researcher is amazing) showed how "Veggie Vision" worked: an inexpensive camera sees peaches, plums, prunes, pomegranates and, wham-o, the computer displays what you've got. Think that's easy? Most supermarket checkout folks use the "consensus method": hold up an unknown green thing with stringy leaves and get all the other cashiers to opine on what species they behold. (The default answer is "$1.29") But Teresita is enraptured by fruit detecting algorithms: mathematical formulas that narrow down the choice to the most logical. We had a blast getting the right answers as we put parsnips and parsley, persimmons, and... I think you get the idea. It could even tell when you put your wallet on the counter. My favorite moment was when I actually put my head under the camera and it correctly identified my head as a red cabbage.
Link: CBS Marketwatch: My IBM Vacation >

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