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NEC develops AI technology to quickly and easily register products for image recognition

- No need for specialized shooting equipment or manual editing -

Tokyo, September 30, 2021NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) announced today the development of an instant object registration technology for image recognition, targeted for the retail and logistics industries, that enables products to be easily registered just by holding and rotating them in front of a standard camera. This technology greatly simplifies product registration work needed for image recognition-based product management, and automates the manual editing process, which conventionally requires approximately 30 minutes per product. NEC aims to commercialize this technology within the 2022 fiscal year.

In recent years, product management efforts using camera-based image recognition, such as unmanned payment, shelf product management, and shipment inspection, have been expanding in the retail and logistics industries. In order to manage products using image recognition, it is necessary to register each product in advance by taking a large number of images of each product and generating an image recognition model.

Conventional product registration operations require specialized shooting equipment, such as turntables, and manual editing of the captured images, including cropping of product areas and removal of unnecessary images, such as blurred shots. In the retail industry, such as convenience stores and supermarkets, where hundreds of new products are introduced each month, and in the logistics industry, where a wide variety of items are managed at each site, registration of new products and items are always required, so traditional product registration work has a significant burden in terms of both time and labor costs. Furthermore, since the introduction of specialized shooting equipment and manual editing labor have been necessary, conducting the registration of products on site, e.g. in retail stores, has not been feasible.

This instant object registration technology, however, allows users to quickly and easily complete the registration of products simply by holding and rotating a product in front of a standard camera, without the need for specialized shooting equipment or manual editing.

Technology Overview

Technology Features
1. Easy shooting with a single camera enabling product registration anywhere
This technology automatically collects the numerous training images from multiple angles that are necessary for image recognition of a product by simply holding the product in a hand and rotating it in front of a camera for 10 to 20 seconds. Since users can shoot with a single camera, without the need for specialized shooting equipment, products can easily be registered on site for the logistics industry or retail locations. Products that are limited to particular retail stores, or items that are handled at individual warehouses can now be quickly registered on site.

2. Automation of manual editing using AI technology
This technology uses AI technology to automate manual editing work by using the fact that the photographed product is moving in the image, and automatically generates an image recognition model. Specifically, by separating the moving foreground product from the non-moving background of an image, any complex background can be removed cleanly, enabling only the image area of the product to be cropped out. Moreover, unnecessary images are automatically removed from training data, such as images that are blurred from movement or hidden by hand.

For More Information
Instant object registration technology for image recognition


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