Amazon’s futuristic grab-and-go store has reportedly hit a snag

If you walked into your local grocery store, grabbed whatever took your fancy, and walked straight out again, you’d probably get arrested for shoplifting.

In Amazon’s Go store, the system will be the same, but without the bothersome run-in with the law. That’s because Amazon’s system ditches checkouts and instead uses technical wizardry to automatically extract the total cost of your items from your bank account the moment you step outside. Brilliant.

Except that the company is reportedly having difficulties with the all-important payment system at its test store in Seattle. This means that Amazon’s targeted “early 2017” date for a wider rollout of Go appears to have become more of a case of, “We’ll see when we can get it properly sorted and let you know.”

The technology that tracks customers as they make their way around the store is having trouble keeping tabs on more than 20 shoppers at a time, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week.

Additionally, the system is having difficulties tracking items that are moved from their original spot, an issue likely caused by those who suddenly decide they don’t want something and discreetly ditch it on a random shelf because they can’t be bothered to return it to its proper place. Of course you never do that.

The test store has been open to Amazon employees since December last year, but the Journal says that another problem is that the technology in its current form can only track customers if they’re moving around the premises very slowly — an issue that we hope doesn’t lead to speed limit signs appearing along every aisle.

Well, no one ever said that such a futuristic concept was going to be easy to nail, though Amazon will likely be frustrated at having to postpone the rollout of Go to locations across the country.

If you’d like to see how Amazon envisages a perfect Go store where it can reliably charge people as they walk out of the door with a bagful of groceries, check out the video above.

Emerging Tech

Walmart using A.I.-powered cameras to spot dodgy shoppers at self-checkouts

Walmart is using computer vision technology at some of its stores in an effort to spot sneaky behavior at its self-checkout counters. The A.I.-powered cameras automatically identify any dodgy activity and then alert staff.
Photography

Get those photos off your phone and on your wall with these printing options

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online or in store? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.
Apple

Good news for Mac photographers — Lightroom now available from Mac App Store

Getting your hands on a copy of Adobe Lightroom CC just got a bit simpler for Mac users. The popular photo-editing app launched on the Mac App Store today, allowing photo editors to skip ordering from Adobe and go right to the App Store.
Mobile

Best Buy stores are now certified to repair Apple devices

Apple completed a major expansion of the Apple authorized service provider program — Best Buy stores are now all certified to repair Apple devices. Now, eight out of 10 Apple customers live within 20 minutes of an authorized service…
Emerging Tech

SpaceX is on a hiring spree for its Starlink global internet project

After a string of delays, SpaceX's Starlink project was finally launched last month. Now an analysis of data from SpaceX's job listings shows the company is on a hiring tear, advertising for more and more positions for the project.
Emerging Tech

Ready to roll: Mars 2020 rover fitted with wheels ahead of mission next year

The Mars 2020 rover is getting ready for its trip to the red planet next year. The latest step in readying the rover is installing its wheels and suspension system, which engineers at NASA have been doing this month.
Emerging Tech

Want to work in the stars? Here are six future space jobs you could hold

Ever dreamed of leaving Earth to work in the stars? Here's a list of job titles that might sound like science fiction now, but almost certainly won’t a decade or two in the future.
Emerging Tech

You can help search for aliens with an open access release of SETI data

The Breakthrough Initiatives, a program to search for extraterrestrial intelligence, recently analyzed its first three years of radio telescope data. And all of the data collected is being made publicly available in an open data archive.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

The U.K.’s biggest (and only) asteroid mining company has designs on our skies

Is the founder and CEO of the U.K.'s Asteroid Mining Corporation going to be among the first people to strike it rich in space, or is he just chasing an ambitious but doomed mirage?
Emerging Tech

Tiny galaxy has huge black hole at its center, gives clues to galactic evolution

A Hubble image shows a tiny galaxy which could hold the clue to unraveling a longstanding question about the evolution of galaxies. Despite its small size, it hosts a feature found in much larger galaxies -- a supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Dark matter galaxy crashed into the Milky Way, causing the ripples in its disk

New research suggests hundreds of million of years ago, the Milky Way collided with Antlia 2, a nearby dwarf galaxy dominated by dark matter. The collision caused ripples in the disk of gas around the Milky Way which we still observe today.
Emerging Tech

Uranus’ rings shine brightly but hold a puzzle for astronomers

New images reveal the rings around Uranus, which are almost invisible to most telescopes. But there's a strange puzzle about them -- why they don't contain any small dust-sized particles.
Emerging Tech

U.S. Navy is working on making its fleet invisible to computerized surveillance

The U.S. Navy’s ever-innovative Office of Naval Research is working on a way to turn the United States military fleet invisible. Well, to cutting-edge image-recognition systems, at least.