According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is considering equipping its bricks-and-mortar stores (Amazon Go, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Whole Foods) with a system to let customer pay for purchases by scanning their palms. Last December, the US Patent and Trademark Office publicly disclosed a patent application from Amazon for a “biometric identification system” including a hand scanner that can read characteristics such as veins, bones or soft tissue. It seems that the vein network in people’s palms is as distinctive as fingerprints, and as accurate for identification purposes. In this case, vein network detection is done through near-infrared scanning, a technology that is contactless, i.e. more hygienic than fingerprint scanning. That said, biometric data are getting bad press these days, and many people will not be too keen on linking up their biometric data to their bank data, and storing it all on Amazon’s cloud.
⇨ GeekWire, Nat Levy, “Here’s how Amazon’s rumored pay-by-hand tech could work.”