Amazon unveils checkout palm reader payment device


Amazon is getting into palm-reading — but it wants to sell you groceries rather than tell your fortune.

The e-commerce colossus on Thursday officially announced a new checkout-counter device that will allow shoppers to pay for groceries at retail stores using the palms of their hands — a year after The Post revealed that the project was in the works.

The so-called Amazon One device uses high-tech imaging and algorithms to create and detect a “unique palm signature” based on the ridges, lines and veins in each person’s hand.

The system, which the company has rolled out at two of its Amazon Go stores in Seattle, uses the biometric information to link each hand to a credit card the shopper has on file.

“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 Post reported last year that Amazon’s ultimate goal is to roll out its hand scanners at all Whole Foods supermarkets.

Amazon acquired the organic-goods chain for $13.4 billion in June 2017.

At the time of The Post’s 2019 report, an Amazon spokesperson refused to answer questions about the technology, then code-named “Project Orville.”

While a regular card transaction typically takes between three and four seconds, Amazon’s technology can process the charge in less than 300 milliseconds, a person familiar with the project said.

“Retailers have always been interested in faster checkout,” Majd Maksad, founder and CEO of Status Money, a personal finance site, told The Post in 2019.

“You only have to walk into Whole Foods to see the massive lines of people waiting to check out. It’s a massive friction point.”

If the technology succeeds, it could also help encourage consumers to spend more money when they visit Whole Foods, Maksad said.

“People tend to spend more when they don’t have the experience of touching something tangible like money,” Maksad said. “The utility of money becomes more ephemeral.”

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 also planning to expand the cashier-less technology to Whole Foods, as The Post reported last month.

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.

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