Amazon tests letting customers pay with their PALM using a recognition system that links a credit card to unique hand signatures
- Amazon has unveiled its palm recognition system at two of its physical stores
- The system is comprised of a scanner that creates a unique ‘palm signature’
- This is then linked to a customer’s credit card, allowing them to pay for items
- The firm is testing them in Seattle but sees it being used in stadiums and offices
Amazon unveiled a new palm recognition system at two of its Seattle stores that allows customers to pay for items with a simple wave of the hand.
Called Amazon One, the technology creates a unique ‘palm signature’ for each individual by gathering surface-area details and links it to a credit card.
The device is being piloted at two Amazon Go locations, with more being added over the next few months.
Along with making payments, the e-commerce giant sees its palm reading system being used for things like ‘presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium or badging into work.’
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Amazon unveiled a new palm recognition system at two of its Seattle stores that allows customers to pay for items with a simple wave of the hand
Amazon has been working on the palm recognition system for quite some time, as last December the firm was awarded a patent for a ‘touchless scanning system’ that identifies customers using hand recognition.
The patent was filed on June 21, 2018 and published December 26 by the US Patent & Trademark Office, but now Amazon has rolled out a working device.
Amazon says it chose palm recognition over facial because it is more secure.
Vice president Dilip Kumar wrote in the announcement:’One reason was that palm recognition is considered more private than some biometric alternatives because you can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm.
The device is being piloted at two Amazon Go locations in Seattle, with more being added over the next few months
Amazon creates a unique ‘palm signature’ for each individual by gathering surface-area details and links it to a credit card. A 2019 patent for the system says it is comprised of an infrared light source, a controller and camera
‘It also requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use.’
‘And it’s contactless, which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times. Ultimately, using a palm as a biometric identifier puts customers in control of when and where they use the service.’
Although Amazon did not provide details of how the technology works in Tuesday’s announcement, the patent explains that the scanner is comprised of an infrared light source, a controller and camera.
Users would simply bring their items to the register and wave their hand across the scanner to complete the purchase.
That data would then be linked to patrons’ bank information, meaning customers would be able to waive their hands in front of a scanner and complete the transaction in under a second.
This also means that customers do not have to have an Amazon account to start using Amazon One – they just need a mobile phone number and a credit card.
‘No two palms are alike, so we analyze all these aspects with our vision technology and select the most distinct identifiers on your palm to create your palm signature,’ Kumar said in a blog post.
Along with making payments, the e-commerce giant sees its palm reading system being used for things like ‘presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium or badging into work’
In Amazon Go stores, the system will be added to the store’s entry gate as an option for shoppers.
‘In most retail environments, Amazon One could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system,’ Kumar added.
Amazon said the biometric data would be ‘protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device’ but send to a ‘highly secure area we custom-built in the cloud.’
The company said it was ‘in active discussions with several potential customers,’ which could include other retailers, but offered no details.
HOW DO AMAZON GO STORES WORK?
To start shopping, customers must scan an Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a gated turnstile.
Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter.
Deeper into the store, shoppers can find a small selection of grocery items, including meats and meal kits.
An Amazon employee checks IDs in the store’s wine and beer section.
Sleek black cameras monitoring from above and weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take.
If someone passes back through the gates with an item, his or her associated account is charged.
If a shopper puts an item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from his or her virtual cart.
Much of the store will feel familiar to shoppers, aside from the check-out process.
Amazon, famous for dynamic pricing online, has printed price tags just as traditional brick-and-mortar stores do.
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