Following the fall 2020 launch of its Amazon One contactless biometric palm reader in two Amazon Go stores, the retailer has rolled out the technology to a total of eight retail locations throughout the Seattle area, according to reporting in TechCrunch and other publications.
The solution uses computer vision to record an image of a person’s palm and associate it with a credit card. In a Sept. 29, 2020 blog post, Dilip Kumar, VP Physical Retail and Technology at Amazon, wrote: “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. 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.”
Amazon One uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a palm “signature” that’s unique to each individual. The readers use computer vision to evaluate multiple aspects of a person’s palm, comparing them to the palm’s most distinct identifiers — some of which may be on the surface, others revealed in the pattern of veins underneath.
The technology doesn’t require an Amazon account — shoppers can scan any mobile phone number and credit card. However, Amazon customers will have the added bonus of managing their information and viewing their purchase history through the retail giant’s website. Shoppers concerned about the safety of their biometric data can request to have it deleted at the palm reader or online.
Amazon’s ultimate goal is to market the system as a friction-reducing contactless checkout solution for other retailers. “We’re excited to see Amazon One in more retail environments and are in active discussions with several potential customers, but beyond that, we’ll have to ask you to stay tuned,” said Kumar in the blog post.