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Flash Bistro upgrades with Amazon Just Walk Out technology

Alton Northup
A student enters Flash Bistro on June 25, 2024, in the Student Center. The market installed Amazon Just Walk Out technology, removing the need for cashiers or self-checkouts.

It seems like something out of a science fiction movie: entering a store with the scan of a palm, grabbing an item and walking out.

“It just doesn’t seem possible,” said Julia Buck, a sophomore criminology major.

But it is possible. Flash Bistro in the Student Center recently underwent a renovation, outfitting the store with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

Now, customers only need an Amazon One palm print, tap of a credit card or a Flashcard to make purchases. As they walk through the store, they grab items they want and leave. There are no cashiers or self-checkouts.

The transformation was part of a plan from Culinary Services to incorporate new technology into its stores, said Kristin Burney, assistant director of retail.

“We got a lot of like, ‘It feels like I’m stealing,’ but I think once they left, and they got their receipt and they saw that was accurate, it was a little more comfortable,” Burney said.

Amazon One allows customers to enter, identify and pay using only their palms. (Alton Northup)

The store is equipped with dozens of cameras that track customers as they navigate the space. If a group enters, the cameras still track each individual but charge the account of whoever tapped the group in.

Scales built into product shelves monitor which products are taken, that way the correct amount is charged to the customer. The shelves also double as a way to help Culinary Services have an accurate understanding of which products students use the most, that way they can better stock supply.

While students can use their Flashcards at the store, the cameras do not use facial recognition or photos in the school’s database. Instead, a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and generative AI make the technology possible.

Products in the store are the same in every campus market and do not come from Amazon. Burney said she hopes the convenience the store offers students, such as no lines and later hours, will draw more customers.

Alton Northup is editor-in-chief. Contact him at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Alton Northup
Alton Northup, Editor-in-Chief
Alton is a rising senior majoring in journalism. His seventh semester with KentWired, this is his first as editor-in-chief. He previously served as a reporter and campus editor. He enjoys finding stories that impact the community and helping student journalists reach their potential. Contact him at [email protected]

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