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Amazon kids patentOur vision of the future has long included computers that we control with a wave of the hand. But what if that hand was also used to determine more about the user — including their age and which interface to show them?

Amazon has been awarded a patent for a gesture-based computing system that uses hand size to determine which interface to show a user. The patent, titled “Child-appropriate interface selection using hand recognition,” would apparently be used to show simpler, child-friendly UI to those with small hands.

The patent specifically refers to gesture-based computing systems, something Amazon has apparently been working on for a while. Last year, the company was awarded a patent that transforms your living room into “another reality,” a project apparently spearheaded by Amazon’s Lab126, the same division that spawned the ill-fated Fire Phone.

The patent uses palm size to help determine if a user is a child or an adult.
The patent uses palm size to help determine if a user is a child or an adult.

However, the most-recent patent may be a hangover of a more ambitious Amazon. One of the two named inventors listed on the patent, Menashe Haskin, worked at Lab126 but has since moved to the drone delivery division at Amazon. The other author, Deborah Shepard, left Lab126 back in 2013 and no longer works for Amazon, according to her LinkedIn page.

Since the fall of the Fire Phone, Lab126 seems to have switched focus to some more practical ideas. The division is behind the budget-friendly Fire tablet and the top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis and Voyage e-readers. The hardware-focused unit even created one of Amazon’s biggest hits, the Amazon Echo.

It may be the Echo that gets Amazon back into the room-transforming hardware space. The company seems to be ambitiously pursuing smart-home features for the AI powered speaker and recently introduced companion devices to bring those feature to every room in your home. The Echo may be Amazon’s way of getting its foot in your front door.

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