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Have you ever been building something at home, or doing a small repair, and didn’t quite know what size screw or washer you needed for the job? Thanks to Amazon, there’s an app for that.

Amazon has reportedly made its latest foray into the industrial parts market in the form of a new feature for its iPhone app, rolled out to all users over the last few weeks that allows users to scan a fastener with their phone’s camera and match it to one of the more than 100 different types of fasteners Amazon has in product catalog.

Amazon confirmed the the new “Part Finder” app to TechCrunch last week, but didn’t mention if or when the feature will be added for Android users.

Part Finder is relatively straightforward. On the Amazon app home screen, you tap the camera icon next to the search bar. That brings up the different product finding functions the app has, including Part Finder. Click that, and the app instructs you to place a penny next to the fastener you want to find on top of a white surface.

From there, you just hold your iPhone’s camera over the fastener until it lines up with the app’s crosshairs, and tell it to scan. Seconds later, it tells you the type of fastener it found and asks if you have a preference for certain attributes like head type and/or drive style that help narrow down the results. Once you tap “See Search Results”, the app brings you to the most relevant matching product item in its inventory.

It’s just the latest product-finding feature Amazon has added to its app. Other functions include basic image recognition product search, a barcode scanner, Augmented Reality View, Package X-Ray and Smilecode Scanner.

Part Finder was developed by Atlanta-based Partpic, which Amazon acquired in 2016. According to TechCrunch, the feature uses computer vision technology as opposed to augmented reality.

I tried it for myself at home minutes after learning this news, using an old screw, and it worked quite well. See my step-by-step photos below. However, a screw is one of the simplest items for Part Finder to find, and it seems like the app should’ve been able to identify the screw’s head type without me adding that information later. But it sure beats running to the local hardware store to find a match.

 

What do YOU think?

What implications might this have for fastener distributors? And if you are a fastener distributor, does it make you fear Amazon any more than before? Let us know in the comments below or email me at mike.hockett@advantagemedia.com

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