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Capital region cafes to test facial recognition payments

Finnish tech firm Uniqul has developed payment software that uses facial recognition to allow customers to buy products. The company says the new application will lead to much quicker purchasing transactions.

Kauppa K-Market Kanneli kassa
In addition to the contactless payment system already in use around the country, one Helsinki company is now bringing in facial recognition technology to use in purchases. Image: Lauri Silvander / Yle

The Finnish software will be tested in select cafes in the capital region starting in early 2015, says the Helsinki-based Uniqul Oy.

”The preliminary testing of the system is almost done, and it will be available for use early next year,” CEO Oscar Tuutti says.

The application recognises a customer based on their geometric facial proportions, and has been in development for about two years. The project has been delayed due to the company wanting to make the software as user-friendly as possible, Uniqul says.

”All the customer needs to do when purchasing something with this application is to press an OK-button,” Tuutti says. “The camera used by the application identifies the buyer from 3—4 metres away, and does not require eye contact. It can even distinguish between identical twins.”

The facial recognition feature can be incorporated into current cash register systems. In addition to a few cafes taking on the software next year, an unnamed overseas retail chain has also expressed interest, says Tuutti.

The goal of Uniqul’s application is to speed up transactions by omitting the need for using a payment card or punching in a PIN code.

Edit: Uniqul is based in Helsinki, not Espoo as originally stated.

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