Imagine paying for your groceries using your veins!

Amazon filed a patent for technology that can identify you by merely scanning the palm of your hand, and by using a light to see beneath your skin through your blood vessels. The image results could help you identify as a shopper at Amazon Go stores.

It was reported that Amazon might install these hi-tech scanners in Whole Foods grocery stores; however, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published an application on December 26, 2019, suggesting that the Seattle-based tech giant will set these scanners only on Amazon Go stores.

How does the vein scanning work?

Even though fingerprint-based scanners have been around for quite some time, Amazon hopes to innovate the same by developing a personal identification system that needs no touching. Just hover your hand in front of the infrared light as a camera snaps 2 images- one from the surface, and the other one that looks at veins. An internal computer will identify you based on that information.

The person’s identity can be used to link them to an already existing account or bank account. The internal computing management system can track the item picked up by the customer, and the tech will subsequently trigger to replenish the inventory accordingly.

So, what about privacy?

Internal hand scanning is supposed to be more reliable than credit card swipes in the battle against hackers and identity thieves. Traditional identification systems have their own set of drawbacks, such as susceptibility to fraud, accuracy, speed, and operational bottlenecks. Therefore, biometric systems address this by using characteristics that are either impossible to be copied or extremely difficult to be transferred. 

Like facial recognition, hand scanners can read your veins, and thus raises a question about the use of biodata; after all, it is relatively easy to change a password as opposed to changing your internal blood vessels.    

It is currently unclear that when the customers will see such technology being rolled out by the tech giant and how far into the project Amazon is.