Amazon One: Palm scanner launched for 'secure' payments

Sun Online Desk

30th September, 2020 09:07:35 printer

Amazon One: Palm scanner launched for 'secure' payments

Amazon has announced a new payment system for real-world shops which uses a simple wave of the hand.

Its new Amazon One scanner registers an image of the user's palm, letting them pay by hovering their hand in mid-air "for about a second or so", it says.

The product will be trialled at two of Amazon's physical stores in Seattle, BBC reported.

But the company said it is "in active discussions with several potential customers" about rolling it out to other shops in the future.

"In most retail environments, Amazon One could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system," it said.

Amazon also said the system could be used for "entering a location like a stadium" or scanning yourself into work instead of using an ID card.

"We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores," it added.

Under the skin

Palm scanners are not a brand-new technology, and there are already some commercially available solutions.

"Palm-based identification is based on capturing the vein patterns of the palm," explains Dr Basel Halak of the Electronics and Computer Science School at the University of Southampton.

"These patterns are different for each finger and for each person, and as they are hidden underneath the skin's surface, forgery is extremely difficult."

Dr Halak said the level of security was roughly similar to a fingerprint scan, but could be used at a distance of a few inches, making it much more practical.