Economy

Amazon wants to scan your hand to authorize shopping sprees

Amazon wants to scan your hand to authorize shopping sprees”

The system works in a similar way as the 18 Amazon Go stores located around the United States, where shoppers can pick up goods and leave, providing they use a phone app to check-in at a turnstile-though the firm did say it will start accepting cash to avoid "discrimination" concerns.

The Post reports that the new system could process a transaction in as fast as 300 milliseconds, versus 3 or 4 seconds for a traditional debit card transaction.

Unlike most other biometric identification systems that require users to physically touch something, such as a fingerprint reader, Amazon's system doesn't require any physical contact with a surface.

It remains to be seen whether Whole Foods customers are ready to embrace hand-based payments, but we'll find out as the system is due to roll out to a small number of stores by the start of 2020, before spreading to all U.S. branches of the supermarket. The system is apparently accurate to within one ten-thousandth of 1%, although Amazon engineers are apparently "scrambling" to improve that to a millionth of 1%. Instead, it leverages computer vision and depth geometry to process and identify the shape and size of each hand as it hovers above the sensor. The pace of the rollout will depend on how quickly Whole Foods is able to install it and train employees on how to use it, sources said.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the development, saying, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation". What's more, by seamlessly integrating payments with the shopping experience, the solution could incentivize shoppers to spend more when they visit its retail locations.

With this new tech, however, you wouldn't even have to bring your phone with you.

The end game, however, is to successfully transition the tech from vending machines to the registers in a Whole Foods store.

Consumers should avoid giving up their biometric data, Hare says, pointing out that, if a company gets hacked, it can take six or more years for consumers to unwind the data theft. "People don't understand the risk, and they're oversold the benefits", she said.



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