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Amazon’s new Part Finder feature helps shoppers with a screw loose

Amazon has stealthily added a helpful new feature for its iPhone app, which will assist you in tracking down those weird unknown screws, nuts, bolts, washers and other fasteners.

The Amazon Part Finder tool aims plug a gap in its service, which requires people to get off their butts and visit a physical store in order to fulfil their needs.

For example, if you need a random screw to fix a piece of household furniture, it’s difficult to grab it from Amazon when you don’t know the exact spec. That usually leads to you carting a spare to the hardware store and finding a match.

To counteract this final sliver of hope for brick and mortar stores, Amazon has deployed a scanning tool that will match your part up to a product you can order immediately.

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All you’ll need to do is tap the camera button in the search box within the Amazon app. Then place the screw (or whatever) on a blank piece of paper next to a (but not touching) penny, which will provide some scale.

Amazon Part FinderA black Samsung UE50TU7020 TV standing on a table, displaying a scene from Aliens

If Amazon finds a match, you’ll have to make some new choices. So, for example, with a screw you can choose whether you need to secure wood or metal, whether the head is flat or oval or whether the screw requires a philips head or slotted screwdriver. Once you’ve made these selections you’ll be directed to products on the online store.

Amazon told TechCrunch the tool works for over 100 types of fasteners, which means it can help identify thousands of parts. Part Finder sits within the iOS app right now but it’s yet to appear on the Android version of the Amazon shopping app.

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