Amazon Wants To Patent Technology That Could Identify Shoppers By Their Hands

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Amazon is trying to patent technology to identify people by scanning their hands and analyzing characteristics such as wrinkles, bones and soft tissue. A shopper scans an Amazon Go app on a cellphone while entering an Amazon Go store, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Seattle. Image: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Amazon is trying to patent a technology that identifies people by scanning their hands and analyzing characteristics such as wrinkles along with veins, bones and soft tissue, according to a patent filing submitted last year and spotted by Recode.

Inventors named on the patent application include Amazon executives such as vice president Dili Kumar and senior manager Manoj Aggarwal. Engineer Nikdai, who previously led Amazon Go projects was also named as an inventor.

If the technology makes it to the real world, Amazon might be considering using it in its Go stores.

The idea is a glimpse at Amazon’s idea of using its own tech to influence how people shop, now that it dominates many types of online shopping in the U.S.

Employees at the Amazon New York office have been testing out the biometric technology.

Once implemented, customers with Amazon prime accounts will be allowed to scan their hands at the stores and link them to their debit and credit cards.

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Currently, visitors at the Amazon stores must scan a special Amazon Go app at a turnstile before entering.

There is a combination of sensors and cameras that allow shoppers to shop and exit without stopping to pay, after which their linked accounts are automatically billed.

“Traditional systems for identifying users suffer from several significant drawbacks including susceptibility to fraud, speed, accuracy and operational limitations,” Amazon said in a statement.