Amazon has been getting… nosey. It started with their patent of technology that allows devices to read your emotional and physical state, and continued with a push for police departments to use the company’s controversial facial recognition technology. Now Amazon wants to expedite your Whole Foods checkout process by using hand scans as a payment method.
Basically, the system, known within the company as “Orville,” will scan Amazon Prime users’ hands and process a transaction in under 300 milliseconds so that you can get your avocados, cage-free eggs, and Brussels sprouts and get the hell out. Not sure if the code name is a nod to popcorn daddy Orville Redenbacher or the science fiction television series The Orville (or neither), but we're pretty sure the technology is going to raise some privacy concerns among customers.
The New York Post reported the technology is being tested at vending machines in Amazon’s New York office, and that the aim is to expand to stores in the beginning of next year. The Post also reported that, unlike with an iPhone home button fingerprint sensor, users will not have to touch their hands to the scanning surface. The tech uses “computer vision and depth geometry” to identify the shape and size of a hand and charge your card. A source told the paper that Amazon claims Orville is accurate to within one ten thousandth of 1%, and they’re working to make it better.
It's worth noting, however, that Amazon declined to confirm the hand-scanning payment plan, per the paper.
Whether this news brings you ease or sends you into some dystopian, existential fervor doesn’t matter. There's a chance it's coming and that’s that. Anyways, everything's fine.
MORE: The best Whole Foods bargains you might be able to scan your hand for one day.