If having a boba drink made by a robot wasn’t futuristic enough for you, soon you will be able to pay for that bubble tea with your face.
That’s because Bobacino, the maker of eponymous boba-making robots, announced today it has partnered up with PopID to let boba lovers pay for their drinks using facial recognition technology.
The way it works is customers can choose to opt-in and register using the PopID app. The app will scan the user’s face during registration, and from there, they can preorder and pay for the boba tea on the app. The customer can also choose to verify their ID once at the Bobacino kiosk to retrieve the drink. Once scanned, the drink is dispensed.
If this all sounds like technology piled on technology, it is. That said, there’s no doubt biometrics as a form of payment has its advantages. Face-pay and other biometrics do add additional security beyond that of the traditional debit card PIN or even NFC-powered mobile payment, since, after all, it’s tough to fake someone’s face (or retina).
The big challenge for face-pay systems will be convincing some customers to use them. The rollout of face-pay in China raised privacy concerns and left some customers confused by the onboarding process. Because PopID’s system is opt-in, it may sidestep privacy concerns, but the two companies will still have work to do educating customers on the benefits of face-pay.
PopID’s move into automated beverage kiosks is a logical evolution given the company’s early traction integrating with payment kiosks as restaurants looked for ways to mitigate consumer fear about COVID. Last year, the company established its pay-by-face network in Southern California and had since taken it nationwide, riding the wave of interest over in contactless payment.
For Bobacino, partnering with PopID adds one more interesting tool in the toolbox for its operator partners when the company rolls out the machines. Last year, the company said it planned to roll out its machines in the second half of 2021, and they are currently raising funds on StartEngine to help fund the rollout. Bobacino is backed by Wavemaker Ventures, the same fund backing Miso, Piestro (who also partnered with PopID), and other food robotics startups.
You can see what the Bobacino looks like in action (face-pay not included) on the video below:
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