Beijing trials facial recognition at supermarket checkouts

Updated 2018-05-03 09:42:19

Shoppers at a supermarket in Beijing can now pay for their groceries using nothing but their face. 7-FRESH, a supermarket operated by Chinese e-commerce giant, is testing out automated checkouts which use facial recognition.

With no human cashier nearby, one camera reads the price tag, and a second one scans your face and matches it to your registered account.

After entering a mobile phone number to charge the account, the transaction is completed in just a few seconds.

Automated checkouts that use facial recognition are one of a series of innovations is testing at 7-FRESH.

But it's not the first in the retail industry.

Last year, Alibaba's Alipay rolled out the world's first "Smile to Pay" facial recognition system at a KFC outlet in Hangzhou City, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province and where Alibaba is headquartered.

Technology analyst and entrepreneur Zhuang Shuai hinted at the reason behind Chinese people's acceptance of the technology.

"As you know, Chinese people are interested in trying new things. Speaking of privacy, we don't give much importance to it or consider it crucial in our lives."

The adoption of facial recognition technology in China is already far beyond most people's expectations.

It helps police in criminal investigations and even stops people from taking excessive amounts of toilet paper.

Zhang Shuai said duplicating people's faces is not an easy job, which accounts for the efficiency of this technology.

"We can easily obtain others' fingerprints from where they have pressed their fingers, but it's hard to do so with people's faces. So I think it is expected to be used broadly in this respect."

But he also cautioned that the tech's hardware and software are still at an early development stage and have a long way to go.

By Li Shengnan

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