Customers who go to Amazon Go’s unmanned convenience store now need to scan the application on their smartphone to enter it. But the new patent filed by the company will only need to scan both hands to identify shopper identity and checkout.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced a local patent application on Thursday, a non-contact scanning system that can identify shoppers by scanning palm features. They include wrinkles and veins, without the need to swipe face.
The patent application documents do not mean that Amazon is definitely developing such technologies. We knew Amazon is testing a new technology that allows customers of Whole Foods to scan their hands for payment at checkout.
If the technology becomes available, Amazon seems to be considering using it in its Amazon Go. Many of the inventors listed in the application are Amazon Go employees. Among them, we can mention Dilip Kumar. He has been the technical director of Amazon Go and vice president of Amazon’s physical retail program.
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However, the use of new biometrics may also pose greater challenges for Amazon. It has faced increasing scrutiny due to privacy issues related to its products. This also includes voice assistant Alexa and home security device Ring.
Amazon’s Hands-Scanning Patent
In a patent application published on Thursday, the inventor described it as ‘a scanner device [that] is used to obtain raw images of a user’s palm that is within a field of view of the scanner. … The first set of images depict external characteristics, such as lines and creases in the user’s palm while the second set of images depict internal anatomical structures, such as veins, bones, soft tissue, or other structures beneath the epidermis of the skin.’
The inventors also envisage that a scanner could be placed at the entrance or exit of any given location and associate the scan with a personal account. So ‘after a user picks items from an inventory location and leaves, Amazon can charge through their account.’