Amazon was just granted two patents for wristbands that can track hand movements of warehouse employees.
According to Geekwire, these wristbands are designed to track where an employee’s hands are in relation to inventory bins and even provide immediate feedback when a worker is placing something in the wrong bin.
The patents were originally filed in 2016 and were granted this Tuesday, though Amazon has made no announcements about the manufacturing of these devices.
This patented system consists of three parts, including an “ultrasonic unit” for the hand, ultrasonic transducers placed around the work environment, and a “management module” to track the activity of the worker. The patent filing hints that these wristbands are a temporary system until robots can automate this entire process.
Some may question the legality of a system with such extreme employee surveillance, but it is legal under current US law and Amazon has no shortage of capable attorneys on their side.
Amazon hasn’t announced plans to make every employee wear a wristband or to even turn this concept into reality, but it’s easy to imagine why the company would be interested in a product like this, given its sheer amount of warehouse employees.
View the Amazon patents via Google Patents and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.