Amazon patents wristband to track warehouse workers' movements

Esequiel Farfan
Febrero 2, 2018

It's just the latest controversial method Amazon is considering to improve the efficiency and reliability of its massive warehouses, which have been repeatedly criticized for exposing workers to overbearing working conditions. In conjunction with a receiver unit, those ultrasonic waves could track where the worker's hand is in real time and guide it to pick out items, then pack them in boxes. "If their hands are moving to the wrong item, the bracelet will buzz". Although, a Geekwire report notes, the patent itself positions such a wristband as a labor-saving device, helping employees perform their tasks more efficiently and connecting to the inventory system.

A newly discovered patent filed for by Amazon in 2016, details a wristband created to keep track of employees in warehouses.

This isn't Amazon's first step toward more efficient employees and operations: The company has experimented with worker robots and delivery drones, and even with no employees at all at its Amazon Go cashierless concept store, as noted by our sister site CNET.

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A less generous interpretation would be that the wristbands provide Amazon management with new workplace surveillance capabilities that can identify the workers wasting time scratching, fidgeting or dilly-dallying. The company did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment on when the company could implement the technology, if ever.

The wristbands were proposed by Tye Brady, Amazon Robotics' chief technologist.

"It must be so hard to dream up techno dystopias for Black Mirror that aren't actually true", Michael Moran wrote.

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