Amazon is testing new biometric technology that will let Whole Foods customers check out by scanning their HANDS, report claims

Amazon is testing new biometric technology that will let Whole Foods customers check out by scanning their HANDS, report claims

James Pero | Daily Mail | Source URL

By simply waving one’s hand in front of a scanner, customers may soon be able to cash out at the health-centric grocery chain, Whole Foods, as soon as next year. 

Amazon, which purchased Whole Foods in 2017 for more than $13 billion, is reportedly developing computer vision technology that can judge the shape and size of customers’ hands to create a unique handprint, according to sources cited by the New York Post

That data would then be linked to patrons’ bank information, meaning customers would be able to waive their hands in front of scanner and complete the transaction in under a second. 

Among the unique advantages of using a handprint to check out, says the report, is its unparalleled speed. 

While mobile payments take several seconds to conclude, Amazon’s hand-reading technology allegedly verifies customers in just 300 milliseconds and doesn’t necessitate the use of any other device aside from one’s own hand. 

Unlike fingerprint technology, the hand-readers will reportedly not require customers to physically place their hands on a scanner, but rather will read their signature remotely.

The Post reports that though the technology, which is codenamed ‘Orville’ currently boasts a .0001 percent failure rate, engineers are working to get that rate to .000001 — one millionth of a percent — before it launches.

Sources cited by the Post claim that employees at Amazon’s New York office are currently piloting the technology by using it at specially-designed vending machines that sell snacks.

Amazon will reportedly look to start rolling out Orville in select Whole Foods early next year given the system’s success, and expand that feature to stores across the US thereafter.

The technology’s roll out will also be contingent on whether Whole Foods is able to implement systems and train employees in an easy fashion.

Amazon has already begun to roll out similar technology across its ‘Go’ convenience stores where customers check in at a turnstile using their mobile device and then buy products without ever encountering a register.

A mixture of computer vision and sensors throughout the story monitor how many,  and what type of objects customers pick up and then automatically charges the total to customers’ Amazon accounts.

Despite Oriville’s convenience factor, the technology will likely only continue to irk skeptics of Amazon’s other biometric technology, like the facial recognition software Rekognition, which has found its way into the hands of police across the country.

Civil rights advocates warn that Rekognition could lead to an uptick in false accusations and have pointed out that systems are especially prone to misidentifying the faces of people of color.

HOW DO AMAZON’S GO STORES WORK?

In December 2016, Amazon unveiled a convenience store in downtown Seattle that replaced cashiers with technology found in self-driving cars.

It opened to the public in January 2018.

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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