Amazon One Palm-Scanner Debuts Payment With 'Wave of the Hand'

Amazon One is a new palm-scanner designed to make public shopping 'more practical.'
Brad Bergan

For Amazon, shopping can't go fast enough.

The company debuted Amazon One on Tuesday — which links a user's palm print to stored credit card data, allowing checkout-free transactions inside Go stores by simply placing one's hand above a sensor — according to a press release shared on Amazon's website.


Amazon One palm-scanner debuts checkout-free shopping

Typically, store shoppers use a code on their smartphone to open electronic gates inside Amazon Go stores, but this new feature adds a personal touch of unprecedented levels.

At first, the new feature will go live at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, with parallel upgrades coming other Amazon Go stores in the near future — including sites in Seattle, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Amazon also aims to bring the feature to other retailers — like stadiums and offices, CNN reports.

"In most retail environments, Amazon One could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system," read the release.

"We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores," added the company.

Skin-deep transactions more practical for shopping

Palm scanners aren't new. Some have already made their way into the commercial sector. "Palm-based identification is based on capturing the vein patterns of the palm," explained Professor Basel Halak of the University of Southampton's electronics and computer science school, the BBC reports.

"These patterns are different for each finger and for each person, and as they are hidden underneath the skin's surface, forgery is extremely difficult," said Halak, according to the BBC. The security level was vaguely similar in level to a fingerprint scan, but still works at a distance of a few inches — which makes it far more practical for shopping in public, he added.

Amazon One Scanner
The new Amazon One scanner may be used as entry gates for buildings. Source: Amazon

Amazon One functionality, relevance to social distancing

The new Amazon One scanner registers the image of a user's palm, requiring them to pay by holding their hand mid-air "for about a second or so," said the press release.

In perfect pitch with the tone of the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent social distancing measures taken globally, The company's new Amazon One palm-scanning device could serve as the basis for a new universal standard for touchless identification at every point of public or private entry in the world.

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