Amazon is reportedly working to accelerate checkouts in the physical stores using your hand as a form of identification.
According to a New York Post, the retail giant is said to be quietly testing new scanners that can identify human hands to make a store purchase. The company intends to launch payment technology in the supermarket chain Whole Foods, which starts next year.
"While a regular card transaction usually takes between three and four seconds, Amazon's new technology can process the charge in less than 300 milliseconds," Reported it.
The system ̵[ads1]1; appropriately named "Orville" and intended for Prime subscribers – is currently being tested by Amazon employees at the New York City offices, and is using it to buy soft drinks, chips and granola bars from vending machines.
The main difference is that the biometric sensors are unlike the ones you see on iPhones, something which means you don't have to physically touch your hand on the scanner, instead it utilizes data vision and depth geometry to process and identify the shape and size of each hand as it hangs over the sensor.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the development and said: "We do not comment on rumors or speculations. ”
As these experiments often go, this is not the first time the company has tried to reinvent the wheel.
Amazon's cashless "Go" stores – established in 18 locations across the United States – are already speeding up the checkout process by swapping the human box for a phone app to check in on a turnstile, as cameras and weight sensors around the the store tracks the items picked by customers from the shelves.
Microsoft has also partnered with Kroger and Walmart for futuristic high-tech food pilots that would guide shoppers to find items on their shopping lists, and make recommendations and targeted ads based on their demographics and shopping habits.
But follo promises to ban cashless stores – for reasons that they discriminate against lower-income people and customers who don't have bank accounts, cards or smartphones – Amazon said earlier this year that they would start accepting cash at their Go stores .
With this new technology, however, you would not even carry the phone with you. By seamlessly integrating payment with the shopping experience, the solution can encourage shoppers to spend more when they visit store locations.
On the other hand, there seems to be a solution in search of a problem. The technology is without a doubt impressive, and definitely more secure than using your passwords. Even then, it is hard to deny that it is another opportunity for Amazon to obtain biometric data from millions of US consumers.
At a time when the company's commitment to recognizing face recognition software is attracting a fair share of surveillance problems, one can only hope there is enough oversight and that it is done properly. Because once technology is out there, it's hard to roll it back.