Let's face it: not everyone has encyclopedic knowledge of all the screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and other hardware they may need to do a bit of DIY household repair. In my case, if it doesn't come in a clearly labeled IKEA packet with detailed pictorial instructions, you may as well be handing me alien technology. Thankfully though, according to TechCrunch, Amazon has taken pity on those of us who have yet to learn the art of handiness with a new mobile feature called Part Finder.

So say you've got an screw knocking around that you need to buy more of in order to complete the project you happen to be working on, but you aren't sure what type of screw it is. All you need to do is tap the camera icon next to the search bar in the Amazon app, and then choose Part Finder from the menu that pops up. The app will then scan the item in question using your phone's camera and direct you to where you can find it on the site so you can make that purchase. Here's a more in-depth view of how it works from TechCrunch's piece:

To use Part Finder, you first tap the icon to launch the feature, then place the object on a white surface next to a penny, as instructed. (A piece of white paper worked well.) The instructions explain how to correctly tilt the phone in order to measure the part. This involves a display of a crosshairs and circle that appear on the white surface in the camera's viewfinder. You tilt the phone until the circle is lined up in the center of the crosshairs. Amazon's app then scans the item and delivers results, assuming the product is in focus and you've followed the instructions properly. On the following screen, you add more information to help narrow down the results.

Amazon also told the publication that as of now, the feature can identify over 100 types of fasteners, "which represents thousands, if not millions of parts."

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Part Finder, which is in the process of rolling out to everyone with the iOS version of the app, is yet another addition of Amazon's ever-expanding variety of ways to use your iPhone camera to search for something you need without having to actually type out any search terms. There's no word yet on when exactly the feature will be available for Android devices.


Do you think Part Finder is a nifty addition to the Amazon app, or do you find it (ha) unnecessary? Share with us in the comments.

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