Amazon has unveiled a new biometrics technology that allows users to make contactless payments with the palm of their hand. Amazon One, as the company calls its new innovative technology, uses your "unique palm signature" to verify your identity.
Starting today, customers entering the Amazon Go stores at 7th & Blanchard and South Lake Union at 300 Boren Ave. North in Seattle can use Amazon One as an entry option. The signup process first requires you to insert your credit card and then hover your palm over the device. Now follow the prompts to associate that card with your unique palm signature. You can choose to register just one palm or both.
Once you've registered your palm with Amazon One, you can enter stores that use this service by simply holding your palm above the scanning device for about a second or so. You don't need an Amazon account to use the service. It just needs a credit card and your phone number. If you no longer want to use this service, you can delete your data from the company's online portal.
Amazon says the service uses proprietary computer vision algorithms to create your palm signature in real time. It'll capture "the most distinct identifiers on your palm" that may include a combination of the palm's surface details such as lines, ridges, and vein patterns.
Amazon One may arrive at more locations soon
Amazon has been working on this palm recognition service for the past several years. The retail giant applied patent for this technology with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) back in June 2018. The patent was published in December 2019, showing a sign that the development is nearing a final product.
Debuting at the two Go stores, the company plans to add Amazon One to its other brick and mortar stores in the coming months. The service is eventually targeted as an identity verification system for various other locations such as stadiums and office buildings.
"We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so we also plan to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums, and office buildings so that more people can benefit from this ease and convenience in more places," said Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon's physical retail business, in a blog post on Tuesday.
The company projects Amazon One as a part of an existing entry point to make accessing such locations quicker and easier. Meanwhile, in retail locations, the service could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option. Since it is a contactless solution, it addresses the much-needed norms of social hygiene as well.
Additionally, palm recognition also has a privacy benefit over other biometrics technology such as face recognition. You can't determine a person's identity by looking at the image of their palm. The system also requires the person to make an intentional gesture of holding their hand over the scanning machine.
Amazon says it's in active discussions with several potential customers, so we may soon see the use of Amazon One beyond the company's own retail chain.