Amazon has been awarded a patent for a smartwatch-like wristband which tracks its warehouse workers’ movements and monitors their performance.
The system reportedly has three parts. These include an ultrasonic unit inside the device, which corresponds to other devices placed around the warehouse with both being linked by a computer module to manager data.
A haptic feedback module is also thought to be included in the device, which is likely to alert workers by buzzing when they’re due for a break, or when they find the items they’re looking for.
“The speculation about this patent is misguided,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
“Every day at companies around the world, employees use handheld scanners to check inventory and fulfill orders.
“This idea, if implemented in the future, would improve the process for our fulfillment associates. By moving equipment to associates’ wrists, we could free up their hands from scanners and their eyes from computer screens.”
The news comes just days after Amazon announced it is to build a brand-new warehouse in Rugby creating 400 jobs, adding to the 2500 jobs it’s already created in the region.
Despite creating swathes of jobs in its relentless warehouse expansion, Amazon has been criticised for its treatment of warehouse staff and last year was thrown into hot water over working conditions in its Tillbury warehouse in Essex.
If this device is rolled out across its warehouse estate, it could spark further controversy over privacy and workers rights.