Amazon’s palm-reading ‘One’ scanners expand to more locations

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Amazon One is a palm-scanning payment system.
Image: Amazon

Amazon made waves last year when it introduced One, a touchless system that scans your palm during checkout. The high-tech solution takes everything attractive about contactless payments and makes the process even more convenient.

Now, Amazon One is expanding to more locations. Although the palm-reading payment system won’t be available everywhere, the expansion is a good sign for the tech. Amazon plans to integrate its One scanners into several of its stores in the Seattle area. There will soon be eight locations featuring the tech.

The expansion allows more customers to interact with Amazon One while also helping the company continue to fine-tune its system. In doing so, palm-reading payments inch one step closer to the mainstream retail industry.

Getting Bigger

Most people automatically associate Amazon with its online business. That’s understandable considering the company has made a name for itself in the e-commerce space. However, around its headquarters in Seattle, Washington, and in parts of California, Amazon is pursuing a variety of brick-and-mortar businesses.

For instance, its Amazon Go convenience stores aim to revolutionize the space with cashierless checkouts powered by networks of cameras and computer vision algorithms. Customers can simply walk in, grab what they want, and their account will be charged on the way out the door.

Meanwhile, the company is also working on a similar model with grocery stores and bookstores. Amazon One will now expand from the company’s Go convenience stores into these other locations.

Better Checkout

The Amazon One process starts when a customer walks into the store for the first time. They scan their palm and computer vision technology generates an individual palm print that is unique to the customer. From there, the palm print is encrypted and sent to the cloud, where Amazon stores it for future reference. Users will then associate the palm print with either their Amazon account information or a credit card.

The next time that customer uses an Amazon One terminal, their information is retrieved to complete the payment. Although doing so isn’t mandatory, those who choose to associate their Amazon account with their palm scan will be able to see their shopping history online.

Amazon argues that palm scans are a safer form of biometric authentication than a fingerprint or facial scan because they are (ironically) more anonymous. It isn’t possible to identify someone based on a photo of their palm unless you have access to Amazon’s One database. The same isn’t true for facial scans or fingerprints.

Even so, many remain skeptical due to Amazon’s history with biometric data. The company has been hit with multiple lawsuits and is constantly scrutinized for its data storage and handling practices.

If Amazon treats One more carefully, the technology could have a major impact on the world. The tech giant is already planning to make the palm-scanning tech available to third-party companies at some point in the future.

It could be useful at places like office buildings, sports stadiums, and other retailers. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are more willing than ever to adopt touchless payment systems. Amazon’s palm-scanning One platform could be a perfect solution.

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