Amazon Patents Ultrasonic Tracking Wristbands To Control Workers

Saturday, February 3, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 02/03/2018

Amazon is seeking to boost worker efficiency through a new set of patents squarely aimed at improving its inventory management system using radio frequency based tracking of a worker’s hand to monitor their performance of inventory tasks.

Of course, the only thing more troubling than robots replacing human workers is the idea of robots tracking human workers’ hands, but i) there are profit margins to be optimized and ii) this is the same concept of being under house arrest with an ankle bracelet, it just happens that Amazon wants to put the device on the worker’s wrist.

On January 30, 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued Amazon two patents for wristbands that would use ultrasonic tracking technology to identify the precise location of a workers’ hand as they perform tasks within the Amazon warehouse.

1.The United States Patent 9,881,276: “Ultrasonic bracelet and receiver for detecting position in 2D plane.”
2.The United States Patent 9,881,277: “Wristband haptic feedback system.”

To be sure, there is no mention of house, or rather warehouse arrest, instead the patents state that the devices are for labor-savings purposes:

“Existing approaches for keeping track of where inventory items are stored … may require the inventory system worker to perform time consuming acts beyond placing the inventory item into an inventory bin and retrieving the inventory item from the inventory bid, such as pushing a button associated with the inventory bin or scanning a barcode associated with the inventory bin. … Accordingly, improved approaches for keeping track of where an inventory item is stored are of interest.”

The Rest…HERE

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