Coffee at your fingertips

Two researchers in Management and Information Systems want to know what people think of their handy machine.

Associate Professor John Wells and his graduate assistant Damon Campbell have implemented a biometric hand scanner at the Todd Hall Atrium Café and are seeking participants for their study. They are looking for people who frequently visit the café and use their Cougar Cards to make purchases.

The scanner is set up so a person’s unique hand measurements authorize a debit to his or her Cougar Cash account. The scanner cannot be used to debit from a bank account or a residential dining account.

Wells and Campbell want to know if customers are using the scanner, so they are conducting two participant surveys. The first asks what people initially think of the technology. After filling out the survey, participants receive a $2 credit at the Atrium Café. The second survey asks how frequently participants used the hand scanner and what they think of the technology after trying it out. 
“We are hearing both extreme positives and negatives,” Wells said. Those who register are enthusiastic and say it is convenient because they always lose their card, he said. Some refuse and say, “you aren’t getting my hand!”

Those who are skeptical fear identity theft or that the scans could be used to track where they have been or where they are, Campbell said.

“Hand dimensions are as unique as a thumbprint,” Wells said. “Someone can steal your card and use it, but they can’t replicate your hand scan.”

The machine stores the hand scan and nobody, including Wells or Campbell, can download, manipulate or transmit the internal data.  

After they analyze what people think of the technology, the researchers’ goal is to study alternative purchasing methods and ways to remove cognitive barriers to purchasing, Wells said.

“If a person is fumbling to find their card, there is enough time to cognitively think about whether they want to make the purchase or not,” Wells said. 

People who are interested in participating can contact Campbell at to get their hand scanned at the Atrium Café.