Amazon is working to change how Whole Foods functions post acquiring the company. According to a new report, you may not have to use cash, card or even a smartphone to purchase items at Whole Foods Stores.
The tech giant is working on hand-recognition technology, which will let a user pay with just the movement of his/her hand. The company is using technology that will use a person's hands as ID.
The payment system, which has been codenamed "Orville" will scan human hands to initiate payments. According to the New York Post, the system is currently in a testing phase in its offices. Employees are using the system to make purchases of food and phone chargers.
How it differs from typical biometric scanners is that a customer's hand does not need to be in contact with the surface of the scanner – a customer can simply wave his/her hand and make purchases. The scanner will use computer vision and depth geometry to identify the shape and size of the hand and match it with its records. It will then make the charge to the customer's credit card on file.
Amazon is expanding on the technology that it is currently using at Amazon Go stores, where you can simply pick up goods and leave if you have scanned the QR code at the turnstile.
The hand recognition, however, may only be available to Prime members.
There are definitely other aspects of the technology too – while hand recognition may be safer for privacy than face recognition, such data will need to be held very securely. You simply do not want your data to fall in the hands of hackers, do you?
We might see the technology working at a couple of Whole Foods stores by the beginning of next year. The company has not revealed any specific locations for the launch, but it is expected to showcase the technology in the US first. The company is also working to make the system more accurate – to one percent of the millionth of one percent, before it launches commercially.