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Pasadena Wants to Test Face-Scanning System That Allows You to Pay for Meals

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PopID’s software uses human faces for an entire restaurant pickup transation

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PopID facial recognition software
PopID facial recognition software
PopID website

No, this isn’t Minority Report. A Pasadena-based company is launching a system to aid with contactless payment and pickup where all you need to complete the transaction is your face. That’s right: your face authenticates the payment. The pilot program will launch at a dozen restaurants, mostly in Pasadena but also elsewhere in LA.

With restaurants attempting to limit interactions between the public and staff with cash-only transactions and mandated protective gear, businesses might welcome PopID’s system during COVID-19. Critics of facial-recognition software say this technology displays inherent racial bias, while others raise issues of sharing data and privacy.

Back to PopID and how it works. Register by taking a selfie, adding money to the account via credit card or checking account, and then ordering from one of the designated restaurants. When it’s time to pick up the meal, simply look into a PopID kiosk, and a cashier approves the transaction by handing over the food.

PopID is part of the tech-oriented Cali Group, the same company that started Kitchen United commissary and unleashed burger patty-flipping robots at Caliburger. For now, participating restaurants in Pasadena include Arroyo Chop House, Barcelona, Bubble Puff and Tea, Contessa Italian Foods, Daddy’s Chicken Shack, DogHaus, Lemonade, Parkway Grill, and Tortas Mexico. Outside of Pasadena, Belcampo and Long Beach’s Plant Power Fast Food also use the software.

The program launched this week. Take a look at how PopID works at a drive-thru: