How Amazon Go Might Change The Way We Shop In The Future

December 8, 2016


If you are a passionate shopper but you are tired of those annoying lines at the register, you are in for a real treat. Amazon is coming up with a lineless system that allows shoppers to simply walk out of the store with the goods they need.

A few days ago, Amazon finally took the wraps off their new baby called “Amazon Go” and it seems like a real game changer.

Amazon Go is a real-world grocery store that comes with a huge and long-awaited twist: there are no cash registers and there’s no checkout process whatsoever.

You will be able to simply take the items you need and walk out, while the order posts to your Amazon account afterwards.

So no lines, no cashiers, no embarrassing credit card issues at the checkout… But is this ‘future of retail’ really as close and feasible as they claim?

It Appears So

Although some experts are doubtful whether Amazon has all of the pieces in place, it might seem that their “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience might work just fine.

The company has been shy about sharing the details on how Amazon Go actually works, using only buzzwords like:

  • computer vision,
  • sensor fusion,
  • artificial intelligence,
  • deep learning…

And even though the company refused to comment on the technology behind their new system, there was a certain patent video published in 2015 that may shed some light on the whole thing.

Cameras And Microphones, And Lots And Lots Of Them

The system apparently relies on cameras and microphones and it is pretty similar to the one used in self-driving cars. The computers use cameras to tag each customer’s smartphone via the Amazon Go app as they walk into the store.

The app then allows the store’s surveillance system to identify you and track your every move while you’re in the store. You can move freely and look around, but once you stop in front of a shelf, the cameras start taking pictures of you and record what items you picked up and whether the item stayed in your hand or went back to the shelf.

The cameras would even be able to know your skin tone in order to determine if it was indeed your hand that grabbed the item in question.

As the patent video puts it: “image analysis may be performed on the first image to determine a skin tone color of the user’s hand and pixels including that color, or a range of colors similar to the identified skin tone color, may be identified to represent the user’s hand.”

This system will be used to distinguish between two people each reaching for things on adjacent shelves, and since skin tone is very individual, the computer will be able to tell the two people apart.

What an amazon time to be alive! Stay tuned for more updates on Amazon Go.