Amazon has just announced the launch of Amazon One, a new contactless payment and authentication system that the company is going to implement in some of its Amazon Go stores . Its operation is the most curious, since Amazon One reads the palm of the hand.
They claim that “the service has been designed to be highly secure and uses custom algorithms and hardware to create a unique palm signature for each person.” At the moment, Amazon Go will be installed in two stores as an authentication system, although Amazon claims to be in talks with potential customers to take it to other retailers.
The palm of the hand as signature
In a first phase, and in order to receive feedback from users, Amazon One will be installed at the entrance of some Amazon Go in Seattle. They explain that logging in to Amazon One is very simple: simply insert your credit card, pass your hand over the device, and follow the instructions to associate your palm with that card.
Amazon One uses real-time computer vision technology and will allow one or both palms to be registered . When the user is registered, they will simply have to put their hand on the device (which will be at the entrance of the store) “for a second or so” and enter. Remember that in the Amazon Go it will be implemented as an authentication system, not a payment system.
The company claims to have opted for palm recognition because “it is considered more private than other biometric alternatives , since you cannot determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm.” Furthermore, it “requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding the palm of the hand over the device.”
When the user keeps the palm of the hand on Amazon One, the computerized vision system “evaluates various aspects of the palm of the hand”, although they do not detail which ones. Amazon claims that no two palms are the same and that they select the most distinctive identifiers to create the user’s signature. It should be noted that it is not necessary to have an Amazon account to use Amazon One, but just have a mobile phone and a credit card.
When it comes to privacy and security, Amazon explains that Amazon One has “various security controls” and that ” palm images are never stored on your device.” Instead, “the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area that we custom build in the cloud where we create the signature.”
As we indicated previously, Amazon One will begin to be tested on Amazon in a couple of Amazon Go stores in Seattle, but Amazon’s idea is to be able to take it to other establishments. In fact, they assure that they are in conversations with several potential clients, but at the moment they have no news to share.
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