Amazon is reportedly experimenting with a hand-based biometric payments scheme that could be introduced at select Whole Foods locations as early as next year. The news comes courtesy of the New York Post, which cites sources working at Amazon’s New York City offices.
According to those sources, the new solution (which has been codenamed Orville) would link someone’s hand biometrics to the credit card on their Amazon Prime account. Customers could then scan their hands at checkout terminals at various Whole Foods stores, allowing them to confirm their identity and pay for their groceries without touching the terminal or interacting with a store employee.
Amazon did not comment on the report, but the Post’s sources indicated that the hand scanner is currently being tested at vending machines at Amazon’s New York office, where employees can use it to purchase snacks and other goods. At the moment, the tech is accurate to 0.0001 percent, but Amazon hopes to improve that number to 0.000001 percent before the eventual launch.
The technology is expected to lower the time needed to clear a transaction from seconds to milliseconds. Amazon is expected to launch the system at a handful of stores before expanding, though the rate of expansion will depend on ease of installation.
Of course, Amazon is not the first company to explore the prospect of naked payments. Fingopay is preparing to launch a finger vein payment platform, while Fujitsu has been working towards a similar palm vein solution. Facial recognition has also been a popular modality for naked payments, most notably with a large-scale rollout at KFC locations in China.
It is noteworthy that Amazon has opted for palm biometrics given the ongoing backlash to the company’s use of facial recognition technology. Orville has a better chance of success if palm biometrics prove to be more palatable to American consumers.
Source: NY Post
September 9, 2019 – by Eric Weiss