Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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paint-match scanner

automatically determines the matching paint color for any object
 
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Instead of taking a swatch of fabric or whatever and attempting to compare it to hundreds of paint chips at your local paint store, just scan it! Consists of a remote-control-sized hand unit with a wide end (for more accurate matching) and a narrow end (for small areas, such as a part of a fabric pattern), each having a small scanning unit and its own light source, and a larger computer kiosk. The built-in light ensures that all scans will have consistent lighting. Once the object is scanned, the kiosk runs through the specific shades of all the brands carried at that particular store and coes up with the closest matches. More advanced models might be able to calculate the formula for mixing more esoteric colors.
Tabbyclaw, Apr 11 2003

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       The one on the dulux ad seems quite hand held!
MikeOliver, Apr 11 2003
  

       Called a visual or color comparator.
bristolz, Apr 11 2003
  

       Baked at Lowe's and Home Depot. Used them many times - work very well. They'll even match a paint color from a cloth sample.
waugsqueke, Apr 11 2003
  

       One difficulty with paint chips is that two colors may match under some lighting conditions but not others. A scanner could be constructed which doesn't just sample red/green/blue, but also many other wavelengths extending into the near UV.
supercat, Apr 12 2003
  

       They actually exist? Cool! Tells you how long it's been since I went paint shopping, doesn't it?
Tabbyclaw, Apr 23 2003
  
      
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