Daniel Sinclair+ Your Authors @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China Sep. 04, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

Very interesting development for the facial recognition beat: "Amazon is quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up a store purchase with the aim of rolling it out at retail locations, specifically Whole Foods"  https://gizmodo.com/report-amazon-really-wants-to-scan-your-soft-soft-han-1837856843 

"Employees at Amazon’s NY offices are serving as guinea pigs for the biometric tech, using it at a handful of vending machines... [It's] different from fingerprint scanners [& doesn't] require users to physically touch their hands to the scanning surface"  https://nypost.com/2019/09/03/amazon-testing-payment-system-that-uses-hands-as-id/ 

Honestly it's just kind of funny that Amazon is building a hand scanner pretty similar to the early biometrics that the U.S. government used at Tonopah, Area 51, and throughout the DOE's nuclear weapons facilities.  https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18233/f-117-program-used-these-futuristic-hand-scanners-while-highly-classified-in-the-80s 

Here's a Department of Energy report from the 80s that talks about that particular device, the Identimat by Stellar Systems, and the implementation of hand scanners more broadly.  https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5253800 

Rather than measuring finger length, the Amazon sensor likely resembles Apple's FaceID. It's probably using an infrared dot projector behind glass to build a 3D hand geometry, & is measuring palm temperature & circulation with an infrared sensor. Have come a long way since Kinect

If you haven't seen one yet, AccuVein vein finders are becoming pretty common in a clinical setting. Amazon will likely use veins in their identity model. The devices blast near-infrared light, which refracts w/ blood, and a sensor then picks that up; vein finders reproject it.

FaceID and active infrared scanning seems like the path that will prove correct in the coming years. With the pushback on ZAO in China, and the growing commonality of CCTV, it feels like Chinese tech — at least Chinese people — recognize they're going down the wrong path.


The big question I have about Amazon Hand Scanning Vending Machines is about the 300ms promise. FaceID and the TrueDepth kit take about 400ms — and they're searching for 1 face, on device. They wouldn't on-prem everyone's hand models in a vending machine, right? Right?

the kids under the bezos empire just won't know what it was like when youtube was a website about smacking buttons and hacking vending machines with SMS and a PSP running Windows  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRGQOfACmpw 

You can follow @_DanielSinclair.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Since you’re here...

... we’re asking visitors like you to make a contribution to support this independent project. In these uncertain times, access to information is vital. Threader gets 1,000,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Your financial support will help two developers to keep working on this app. Everyone’s contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support Threader by becoming premium or by donating on PayPal. Thank you.

Follow Threader