Amazon is reportedly testing a type of scanner that can identify human hands as a way to charge a person in-store.
The company hopes to roll out this so-called scanner at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months, according to The New York Post. It claimed Amazon engineers are currently developing the biometric technology, and that employees at Amazon’s New York offices are testing it via vending machines when they buy sodas, chips, and even phone chargers.
The scanner, code-named Orville, is described as using "high-tech sensors". It's supposedly different from fingerprint scanners, as it doesn’t require a user to physically touch the scanning surface. Instead, thanks to computer vision and depth geometry, the scanner can identify the shape and size of a Prime user's hand before charging the person's linked credit card.
Amazon Prime members will, therefore, be able to shop at Whole Foods, wave their hand at checkout, and walk away without ever taking out a wallet or touching the scanner. This system is accurate to within one ten-thousandth of 1 per cent, but Amazon wants to improve that by launch.
Amazon plans to introduce the tech at a few Whole Foods stores by early 2020 and may expand it to all US locations, depending on how quickly Whole Foods is able to install it and train employees.