Initially, the feature will be available in two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, and the company plans to add it in the coming months to other Amazon Go stores, distributed in Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Amazon plans to take it to other retailers, and perhaps places like offices and stadiums, in the future.
The company purposely chose palm recognition over another biometric because it can be paired very accurately and a customer has to make a deliberate gesture to use it, he said.
“I encourage people to try it, see how they like the experience and then go from there,” Kumar said.
Before trying it, users need to insert a credit card into an Amazon One device and hold a palm on top of it, facing down, so it can be scanned. In an effort to make the system as accurate as possible, Kumar said, a camera takes multiple images of the fine lines and ridges of the palm and captures some subcutaneous details, such as veins, that aren’t as visible in typical photographs.
After signing up, a user holds their palm over an Amazon One scanner to enter the store. Then, anything they take will automatically be charged to the credit card attached to their palm. Users should be able to use the same palm to enter and shop at multiple stores, Kumar said. At first, users will be able to link a credit card to one or both palms; Eventually, Kumar said, there may be an option to assign a credit card to each palm.
Amazon One is currently available in two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, at 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street, and in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Amazon is not yet saying when it will be available at other retailers, nor how much it will charge other companies to use the technology.