Amazon is launching a new feature that allows users to search for home improvement parts with ease.
The eCommerce giant’s “Part Finder” enables users to simply point their smartphone camera at an item they need, and Amazon will scan it, measure it, and find matching items from its product catalog.
The company didn’t officially announce the feature’s launch, but confirmed to news outlets it was rolled out a couple of weeks ago.
To use Part Finder, you tap the icon to launch the feature, then place the object on a white surface next to a penny, as instructed. The feature then uses the iPhone’s camera to measure the object.
There are detailed instructions that explain how to correctly tilt the phone in order to measure the part. There is also a screen where you can add more information to help narrow down the results. For example, scan a screw and the feature will ask for additional details, such as whether it is a flat head and the drive type.
While a screw is easier to find on Amazon, the feature will also be able to help users locate an odd part that might be hard to identify. It is currently capable of identifying over 100 types of fasteners, which represents thousands — if not millions — of parts, according to Amazon. It was built using technology developed by Partpic, a company Amazon acquired in 2016
The Part Finder feature is currently showing up in Amazon’s app on iOS. No word yet on its Android release.
This is just the latest example of online companies getting into the home repair business. Earlier this year, Google introduced a tool that helps users hire the right home repair expert. When a user asks Google Assistant for a plumber, the artificial intelligence (AI) will return a list of potential problems its user might be having. Once the need is registered — and after Google confirms where you live — it gives the user two choices. Either the user can request that an eligible and qualified local service provider call them, or Google can generate a call list for its user.