No wallet, no problem… assuming you are an Amazon Prime customer.

By Mike Pomranz
September 04, 2019
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Credit, debit, or fingerprint? At Whole Foods, that question may soon be posed to customers as Amazon is testing hand identification for payment, according to a report in the New York Post. The tech could apparently land in Whole Foods stores as soon as next year.

The Post says that "sources briefed on the plans" told the paper that Amazon is currently testing out biometric technology at several vending machines in the company's New York offices where employees can simply hover their hand over a scanner to get access to things like snacks and sodas. Once in Whole Foods, this system — which apparently is code-named "Orville" — would reportedly be able to use computer vision and depth geometry to allow any Prime customer who has signed up for the feature to use their hand to pay with a credit card on file. The report says that Amazon would like to begin testing the tech at Whole Foods locations by the beginning of next year before an eventual nationwide rollout.

But why would anyone want to pay with a hand scan when paying with a credit card only takes a few second? Well, beyond the fact that no one has accidentally ever left the hand at home, a source said that these hand scans can process a charge in less than 300 milliseconds. With speed like that, you could make purchases at Whole Foods 12,000 times per hour!

Meanwhile, it's not like Amazon hasn't circumvented standard payment options already. The retail giant rolled out its cashierless Amazon Go stores where customers can simply download the Go app, grab what they want, and walk out of the store with charges being automatically placed to their account thanks to cameras tracking both the people and products. However, if this new Orville technology really is coming, it begs the question, do we even really need an app? Why can't we just wave our hand to pay for everything? Alexa, why can't I just wave my hand to pay for everything?

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