Initially, the feature will be available at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, and the company plans in upcoming months to add it to more Amazon Go stores, which are spread across Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. Amazon plans to bring it to other retailers — and perhaps places like offices and stadiums — in the future.
The company purposely chose palm recognition rather than another biometric because it can be very accurately matched, and a customer has to make an intentional 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 must insert a credit card in an Amazon One device and hold a palm above 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 enrollment, a user holds their palm above an Amazon One scanner to enter the store. Then, anything they take will be automatically charged to the credit card connected 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 one credit card to either or both palms; eventually, Kumar said, there may be an option to assign one credit card to each palm.
Amazon One is currently available at two of the 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 businesses to use the technology.