In this week’s look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, Amazon and Visa are the guests of honor.

Amazon: POS, Listen To The Sound Of My Voice. No, Not Her Voice. My Voice

Amazon was issued a patent on Tuesday (Feb. 9) for a way to help POS and other systems differentiate different people, when they are all giving voice commands.

Amazon’s patent said that there is a “concern regarding unauthorized or unintended operation of such a computing device arises within public or social environments, such as open office spaces, shopping areas, hotel lobbies, or other locations where different persons may be talking near the computing device. Specifically, a person speaking within detectable proximity of a computing device may be erroneously interpreted as issuing a command or input. Thus, a computing device might respond by accepting input or executing commands given by someone other than an authorized user. Furthermore, a malicious party may use electronic recording means to record a verbal command issued by an authorized user, only to playback that command to a computing device at another time with detrimental effect.”

Amazon offered several delightfully-geeky ways to different humans. “An authorized user may assume an inclined or tilted orientation of their head while issuing verbal input to a wearable computer. The tilted orientation may be detected by way of an accelerometer, gyroscope, tilt sensor, and so forth. An authorized user may maintain fingertip contact with a fingerprint biometric sensor while uttering verbal commands to a computing device. These and other user actions may be used to verify that detected speech is that of an authorized user.┬áMachine-learning techniques may be used to associate the physical variables with speech of the authorized user. For example, a biomedical sensor may be used to sense muscle impulses related to jaw motion. An initial learning operation may be performed, wherein analysis of the related sensor signals provides an impulse pattern ‘signature’ or set of signatures for a given authorized user. This learned information may be stored and used thereafter during real-time operations when the same user is issuing verbal commands or inputs.”

Visa: Using Track Data To Help Keep Track Of Train Tracks

Visa was issued a patent on Tuesday (Feb. 9) for ways to identify one user that works with multiple payments devices.

The problem? “Each portable payment device associated with a single account within a payment processing system is distinguished using track data. The track data from the portable payment device is read at each of a plurality of merchant point of sale terminals (POS). Rather than relying on the PAN alone, a merchant may utilizes the track data, or a proxy thereof, as the unique identifier for the portable payment device,” Visa’s patent filing said. “The merchant may then process transactions involving the portable payment device based on the unique identifier. For example, in the transit environment the transit fare for each rider with different portable payment devices but the same account can be calculated using the unique identifier, such as the full track data read from both tracks of the corresponding portable payment devices.”

Visa’s suggested resolution: “Some merchant transactions are not on-line such that FIPPD authentication and verification schemes are not readily accommodated. For example, the ability to go on-line in a transit environment such as a subway or bus system, or a venue access environment such as a stadium or concert hall, may be problematic because of the lack of real time communication and lack of network systems for such environments. This is due in part to the need in such environments to process a transaction within about 300 ms, a transit system industry standard, and thereby allow 30 to 45 patrons per minute access into a facility of the transit system such as a subway or a bus. Moreover, a bus on an over-the-road bus route may not have wireless or other communication systems to allow any real-time dialogue with any other systems outside of the bus, such as for on-line fare assessment or on-line admission ticket/voucher/card authorization. Therefore this absence of network connectivity in a transit environment presents a difficulty whenever an on-line authentication of the consumer’s means of access, such as an admission ticket, voucher, or access card, is necessary in order to determine whether, for instance, the consumer is entitled to access and has sufficient funds to cover the cost of the desired transaction (fare for riding on the transit system),” Visa’s filing said. “Moreover, in a transit environment, the value of the transit fare may not be known at the time of requested access. A fare calculation may depend upon the actual travel distance, direction of travel, station entry and exit locations, mode of travel (subway, bus, water taxi), consumer category (student, senior), and/or times of use (peak, off-peak). Such parameters may be unknown prior to rendering the service. As such, the transit fare payment and collection process cannot be performed effectively using a conventional on-line authentication and approval process.”