Amazon launches wellness band that can read emotions from your voice

The device features a number of sensors, including two microphones to analyse energy and positivity in the wearer’s voice.
The device features a number of sensors, including two microphones to analyse energy and positivity in the wearer’s voice.

Amazon is entering the health wearable business with a fitness band which listens to a person’s voice to analyse their emotions.

The device comes part of a subscription service called Halo and has no screen and notifications like other fitness trackers on the market.

It is launching in the US initially with no word on whether it will be rolled out globally as yet.

The tech giant says the platform uses AI-powered health features and “multiple advanced sensors” that provide insight into overall wellness, viewable from a dedicated app.

These 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.

Tone, as the voice sensoring feature is called, uses machine learning to analyse energy and positivity in the wearer’s voice, allowing them to “better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships”, Amazon said.

For example, Tone results may show that a difficult work call leads to less positivity in communication with family, an indication of the impact of stress on emotional wellbeing.

The firm says multiple layers of privacy and security are built into the service, capturing short samples of speech and providing insights and daily recaps.

“Speech samples are always analysed locally on the customer’s phone and automatically deleted after processing – nobody, not even the customer, ever hears them,” the firm explained.

The Body feature of the service uses computer vision technology to give an accurate body fat percentage measurement, which Amazon claims is as accurate as methods a doctor would use.

Health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and customers have the ability to download or delete their data at any time within the app.

“We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalised wellness habits,” said Dr Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer for Amazon Halo.

“Amazon Halo combines the latest medical science, highly accurate data via the Halo Band sensors, and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to offer a more comprehensive approach to improving your health and wellness.”

The service is starting at 64.99 dollars (£48.40) for customers who request early access, which includes six months of Halo membership – after that the membership costs 3.99 dollars (£2.97).

The regular retail price will be 99.99 dollars (£74.47).

Those who choose not to subscribe to the membership can continue to access basics, such as steps, sleep time, and heart rate.