Amazon unveils device allowing palm purchases, entry to events

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"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", Kumar wrote.

Remember, Amazon's Go stores already use computer vision technology to work out what items you have picked up and left the store with, billing you accordingly.

The two checkout-free shops are the first to install the company's new Amazon One biometric device.

A glimpse of the future?

He said: "It does look gimmicky on the surface, but this could be Amazon remaining one step ahead of the competition".

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In simplest terms, Amazon One uses an AI recognition technology that relies on a unique "palm signature" to identify a person.

Amazon said the technology is protected by "multiple security controls" and that no palm images are stored directly on the device. "Potential applications of the tech are limitless". An Amazon account isn't required to use Amazon One, as it only needs a credit card and mobile phone number. For starters, though, Amazon will introduce it in select Amazon Go stores, adding Amazon One to the stores' entry gates.

Amazon says it chose palm recognition because it is considered less invasive than "some biometric alternatives", presumably face recognition, which has received much criticism over its privacy implications and algorithmic biases that can negatively impact people who aren't white and male. Registered users simply hold their unclenched hand above an Amazon One machine for a second, and go about their day. To register, a customer can just insert their bank card and follow the on-screen instructions to link their palm print to that payment option, Amazon said.

In an FAQ accompanying the blog post, Amazon says the development of the palm biometric system began with user experience, though its explanation of the choice of modality is a little less clear.

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