Big companies have been trying to make in-store payments with mobile devices a thing for years, which makes Frederik Leifland's approach awfully refreshing by comparison. There's no smartphone, no NFC chip, no apps involved here -- all you need to pay for your Frosted Flakes and Nutella is the palm of your hand. You see, Leifland (of Sweden's Lund University) has cooked up a way to identify shoppers by the unique branching pattern of veins in their hands.
Conceptually, it all sounds simple enough: you take your comestibles to the register, punch in the last four digits of your phone number, and plop your hand down on a scanner. Voilà -- the amount gets deducted from your bank account and you're on your merry way. That said, the process of getting it all set up is a bit hairier. You have to swing one of the scanner-enabled stores, give it your social security number, bank info and phone number, then scan your palm three times. After that's all done, you then activate your service on its website and fill out another form. Leifland says that each subsequent payment transaction only takes about five seconds to complete though, so you'll have to do that cost-benefit analysis on your own.
It should come as no surprise that Leifland is building a startup called Quixter (no relation to Netflix's ill-fated DVD rental spinoff) around this palm-sensing tech, and the team has scanners set up at 15 stores and cafes around the campus. We've reached out to the Quixter team to see if they plan to (or even can) bring this tech to a deli near you, so stay tuned.