Smile! You just paid for that meal with your face.
A health-food KFC concept restaurant in Hangzhou, China has installed an Alipay facial recognition payment system that lets diners pay for their meals with a smile and their mobile phone number. KFC's KPRO is the first restaurant to use the "Smile to Pay" system designed by Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate.
"Smile to Pay" is the first service of its type, according to Ant, though it's certainly not the first use of facial recognition for payment services. Samsung, PayPal, MasterCard and NEC are among the firms that have been testing the technology. Apple's next iPhone may also offer it.
In addition to scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk, KPRO diners must enter their phone numbers, a safeguard against fraud. (Click here for a demo video.) Ant says it's steadily improved the technology since a beta version was first unveiled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2015 at CEBIT in Germany. It was also demoed in January at CES.
KFC introduced the KPRO restaurant in July to attract consumers looking for healthier fare than its trademark "finger-licking good" fried chicken. The new restaurant's menu includes items like salads and juices.
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