Amazon to launch biometric tech at Whole Foods stores

Amazon is rolling out biometric technology that enables customers to pay with a swipe of their palms at its Whole Foods stores in Seattle.

The system, which is called Amazon One, works by associating a customer’s credit card with their handprint.

All they need to do is hover their palm over the device and follow prompts to associate the card with the unique palm signature, which works in real time.

The technology goes live at a Whole Foods store near the company’s headquarters today and it will be expanded to a further seven locations in the city over the next few months, according to a report by Reuters.

The retail giant said that it chose palm recognition for Amazon One because it is considered more private than some biometric alternatives as it’s not possible to determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm.

“It also requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use,” it said. “And it’s contactless, which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times. Ultimately, using a palm as a biometric identifier puts customers in control of when and where they use the service.”

The roll out doesn’t involve the introduction of totally cashier-less tech at Whole Foods. Critics have said that this kind of system would lead to job cuts.
Amazon told Reuters that the system still requires scanning items at checkout and that it won’t result in a loss of jobs at Whole Foods.

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