There might be a time when you are really hungry, but have no money to buy food. What do you do in such times? For people living close to a certain KFC branch in Hangzhou, China, all they have to do is walk into the shop, have their meal, and smile. The company behind this technology, Ant Financial, is a subsidiary of Alibaba. The payment system, known as Smile to Pay, reportedly requires just two seconds of facial scanning with a 3D camera, and a “live-ness detection algorithm” to identify the person smiling at the camera. Also, the person has to input their phone number to avoid fraud.
This payment system is said to be completely offline, and according to the head of biometric identification technology at Ant Financial, Jidong Chen, this was quite difficult. On how the system detects when someone’s photo is being manipulated, for example when one person is impersonating another person, Jideng stated that the system merges software and hardware by linking sophisticated algorithms with the 3D camera. thus, according to him, biometric spoofing is prevented. Furthermore, the algorithm can detect shadows and other features to test if the person standing before the camera is a real person and not just a photo designed to trick the payment system.
In a video describing how this payment system works, a lady makes use of the machine in several different appearances. She went in front of the machine with heavy makeup, minimal makeup and several different wigs. The machine was able to accurately recognize her facial features each time.
Now, the KFC shop that offers this payment system is a healthier version of the KFC chain, known as K Pro. This chain sells salads, juices and paninis instead of the usual fried chicken and other foods typical to KFC. This chain was created as a way to attract younger customers looking for healthier food options.