You could soon be paying for stuff with your palm – at least that’s what Amazon wants

AMAZON has launched palm reading technology that allows customers to buy things with their hands.

Online retailer and web service provider Amazon has launched Amazon One, a contactless way for people to use their palm for everyday activities like paying at a shop, scanning a loyalty card or paying for public transport.

Amazon says the new technology is designed to be highly secure and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature.

Palm recognition, according to the firm, is more secure than other biometrics as a person’s identity cannot be revealed from a picture of their palm.

Palm signatures also do not have to be linked to an Amazon account, though the option is there, but instead to a phone number, bank or loyalty card.

David Horn, chief technology officer at North-East based cybersecurity firm CyberWhite says the development is an “interesting one”.

He said: “Palm reading technology is more secure, more private and more hygienic than fingerprint technology which so many of us use every day. This is because of the unique way the scan is captured and our identity is verified.

“Palm readers look beyond the surface of our skin, identifying how the veins are arranged through the hand, which is unique to the individual, and the palm reader is also able to confirm that blood is flowing through the veins. Together, this offers more security than a fingerprint, which can be approximated and recovered from hard surfaces.”

Amazon One is currently available in two Amazon Go stores in the US but plans to roll it out across other sites as well as third parties.

In the announcement, Amazon said: “We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so we also plan to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums, and office buildings so that more people can benefit from this ease and convenience in more places.”

Palm recognition also requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use, which Amazon says puts customers in control of when and where they use it.

Mr Horn says is is more likely Amazon One technology incorporated into personal devices like phones and tablets in coming years.

He added: “Because the use of fingerprint technology is still largely confined to personal devices and secure working environments, the development with Amazon is an interesting one.

“I’m not convinced that we’ll see palm readers used in traditional high street environments any time soon, although I would expect it to overtake the fingerprint scanner within the next few years.”

People can sign up just one or both of their hands in less than a minute each and palm signatures are created in real time.

Amazon One devices are protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure and custom-build area in the cloud.

Customers who change their mind can also delete biometric data via an online portal.

The Northern Echo | Durham