Amazon launches wearable wellness band that can 'read someone's emotions using their voice'

·3-min read

Amazon is launching a wearable wellness band and app it claims can read someone's emotions using their voice.

<p>Unlike other health gadgets from the likes of <a href="https://news.sky.com/topic/apple-5875" target="_blank"><strong>Apple</strong></a>, Fitbit and <a href="https://news.sky.com/topic/samsung-5771" target="_blank"><strong>Samsung</strong></a>, <a href="https://news.sky.com/topic/amazon-6825" target="_blank"><strong>Amazon</strong></a>'s Halo does not have a screen - which the tech giant says means it "won't interrupt or distract you", and is "comfortable, secure and swim-proof".</p><p>It says the platform uses features powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and "multiple advanced sensors" that provide insight into overall well-being, viewable from a dedicated app.</p> <p>Sensors include an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphones on or off.</p><p>Its voice-sensing feature, dubbed Tone, uses machine learning to analyse energy and positivity in the wearer's voice throughout the day, allowing them to "better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships".</p><p>It may reveal that a tough work call leads to them coming across less positively when speaking to a family member, an indication of the impact of stress on emotional well-being.</p><p>Amazon says you may think you sound affectionate, when you actually sound bored.</p><p>Addressing potential privacy concerns, Amazon said: "Speech samples are always analysed locally on the customer's phone and automatically deleted after processing - nobody, not even the customer, ever hears them."</p><p>The Halo also has a "Body" feature, which uses a smartphone's camera to "analyse body fat percentage" - which the firm claims is as accurate as methods a doctor would use.</p><p>Amazon says scanned images are automatically deleted from the cloud afterwards, and that a "personalised 3D model helps you track your progress over time".</p> <p>Amazon is no doubt keen to get ahead of any privacy issues, having had to deal with several controversies regarding existing products such as its Alexa voice assistant.</p><p>Last year, it emerged that the company listens to what users say to to improve how <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/amazon-echos-alexa-recordings-listened-to-by-staff-11690794" target="_blank"><strong>Alexa</strong></a> responds to requests, which reportedly included some "distressing" recordings.</p><p>Amazon subsequently halted the practice and users can opt out of its quality control scheme.</p><p><a href="https://news.sky.com/topic/facebook-5956" target="_blank"><strong>Facebook</strong></a>, <a href="https://news.sky.com/topic/google-5876" target="_blank"><strong>Google</strong></a> and Apple all had to contend with similar <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/apple-makes-siri-recordings-optional-after-listening-revelations-11796710" target="_blank"><strong>backlash over their voice assistants</strong></a>.</p> <p>The Halo's regular retail price will be $99.99 (£74.47), with membership costing $3.99 (£2.97).</p><p>Those who choose not to subscribe can continue to access basic features, such as steps, sleep time, and heart rate.</p><p>Halo is initially launching in the US and it is unclear whether it will be rolled out globally.</p>

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