New Amazon patent gives details on hand-tracking wristbands for warehouse workers

It does bring up some concerns about privacy.

While you’re on the job, whether it’s your supervisor, manager or the company itself, they’re all making sure you’re working while clocked in. Sometimes companies even use increasingly high-tech solutions to make sure you’re working. A firm out of London uses AI to analyze daily behavior, and FreshTeam messaging app can track the location of its employees.

You can add Amazon to the lot of companies because it was just awarded a patent for a wristband that will have the capability to track warehouse workers’ hand movements. Originally filed in 2016, the patient was just awarded to Amazon, but may not even see the light of day, even though it was awarded.

Gizmodo points out that the wristband system has three parts to it: an ultrasonic unit for the wrist, various ultrasonic devices placed around the work area and a module that manages all of the data. The patent also gives details on a haptic feedback module, which could potentially buzz employees for any number of reasons, including notifying them when to take breaks or to return from breaks and help them find items around the warehouse. Basically, a navigation-type system on your wrist, but with a specific purpose and limited range.

While this may be legal, this does bring up concerns about privacy. Geekwire notes that the patent itself positions such a wristband as a labor-saving device, assisting employees to perform tasks more efficiently and better connecting the inventory system so that the entire warehouse system can be better managed.

Statement from Amazon spokesperson:

The speculation about this patent is misguided. Every day at companies around the world, employees use handheld scanners to check inventory and fulfill orders. This idea, if implemented in the future, would improve the process for our fulfillment associates. By moving equipment to associates’ wrists, we could free up their hands from scanners and their eyes from computer screens.

This report has been updated with statement from an Amazon spokesperson.


Hamza Khalid

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