Amazon is getting into palm-reading — but it wants to sell you groceries rather than tell your fortune.
The e-commerce colossus unveiled a new gadget Tuesday that will let shoppers pay with the palms of their hands at its retail stores.
The so-called Amazon One device uses high-tech imaging and algorithms to create a “unique palm signature” based on the hand’s ridges, lines and other features. The system links that imprint to a credit card that the shopper inserts into the machine.
Amazon has installed the system at two of its Amazon Go stores in Seattle, where shoppers can scan their palms before entering instead of using a smartphone app. The company plans to expand the technology to more of its stores in the coming months and said it’s in “active discussions” with several potential outside customers.
“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,” Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology, wrote in a blog post.
The gadget builds on the “Just Walk Out” technology that Amazon uses in its Go stores, which detects the items shoppers pick up and charges them once they leave without the need for a checkout line. Amazon is planning to expand the cashier-less technology to the Whole Foods grocery chain it owns, as The Post reported last month.
While using your hand as a credit card may sound a bit dystopian, Kumar contends that it’s more secure than other “biometric” identifiers because you can’t tell a person’s identity just by looking at their palm.
The palm images Amazon One uses are encrypted and stored in a “highly secure” cloud, and customers can request to have their palm data deleted, Kumar said.
The system “requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use,” he wrote. “And it’s contactless, which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times.”