Etron supplying visual sensor modules to self-service Alibaba store

Alibaba online payment arm Ant Financial has adopted 3D wide-angle sensor-based recognition modules from Taiwanese integrated circuit designer Etron for its first unmanned store in Hangzhou, China, DIGITIMES reports.

Etron’s EX8036 3D multi-aperture system provides measurement and gesture recognition by utilizing a proprietary 3D natural light AI-vision platform, according to DIGITIMES, with a detection range of 20cm to 3.5m, and a field view angle of up to 114 degrees. It also works in low light environments, the company says.

Chairman Nicky Lu says that after three years of operating losses, the company expects a significant improvement in profitability over the second and third quarters of 2018, based on the proliferation of self-service stores in the U.S. and China.

3D sensor modules from Etron have also been incorporated in AR and VR headsets, and the company says the modules’ potential applications include facial recognition, object tracking, and autonomous driving.

A wave of recent announcements relating to self-service shopping, such as by Wirecard and RetailDeep demonstrate the market potential for retail biometrics, though a report in the National Law Review earlier this year urged retailers to be prepared for changes to the legal and regulatory environment for facial recognition.

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