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Patents issued for Amazon Go’s smart shelves

Amazon Go shelves
Sensors are built into the shelves at Amazon Go stores. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Amazon has just opened a third Seattle location that makes use of its cashierless Amazon Go grocery shopping concept — and it’s just received the latest patent for technologies that make the concept work.

Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the patent for shelves with integrated electronics, including the on-the-shelf weight sensors that are part of the inventory monitoring system in Amazon Go stores.

“Smart shelves” have been the subject of other Amazon patent applications, including a patent granted in June that’s similar to the one published today. Both applications were filed three years ago.

The patents suggest that when the applications were written, the system was designed for inventory control in storage facilities such as Amazon’s fulfillment centers. The applications also cover use of the technology in consumer retail facilities, however.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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