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Amazon’s Halo band: the fitness tracker that listens to your mood and detects fat

Amazon is releasing its first fitness tracker, a halo band called Halo, that will tell its owner whether it is happy or sad depending on their voice.

As usual, a pair of microphones will listen to users in an attempt to assess their mood and stress levels. After an internship, the band periodically checks in and listens to your speech, classifying it into several emotional groups – such as optimistic, parochial, or hesitant – and provides an overview of both positive and negative peaks.

Meanwhile, a suite of AI devices included in the companion service, which will cost $ 3.99 a month in the US (not currently available in the UK), asking users to take their unwanted selfie with the app in weight and body. Will try to measure information like a fat percentage.

The company says these features allow the Halo system to do more with fewer resources. The same halo band, which costs $ 99 and looks like a reversed wristwatch, has a relatively simple set of sensors compared to its competitors. Accelerometers, temperature sensors, and heart rate monitors allow it to easily track effort levels and core health. But without GPS, for example, it cannot track movement correctly, while advanced features like the EKG are also absent in the Apple Watch.

Instead, Amazon is hoping for a lack of pure sensors with its AI tools. The company cited guidelines from the American Heart Association, saying, “Halo analyzes the intensity and duration of your steps, not just the steps.”

“Despite the increase in digital health services and equipment over the past decade, we have not seen similar improvements in population health in the United States.” The Chief Medical Officer of Amazon Halo, Dr. Molic Mazmoder said: “We are using Amazon’s deep expertise to deliver Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. A new way for customers to discover, adopt and maintain personal health habits.

For many people, these AI tools may be a step too far. “Amazon is building a watch empire, and it’s a privately owned panopekton,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. “It’s their entire business model. They collect massive data about the most intimate details of our lives and use it to fuel their profit machine and strengthen their monopoly.

“The wearable device that scans your body and adjusts the tone of your voice is very much associated with the branding of a company that seems intent on bringing life to dystopian science fiction,” she said.

The usual microphone, for example, is not connected to Amazon Alexa, as one might expect. Instead, they support Halo’s tone system, which provides a “voice analysis tone”. Amazon says that these recordings are never uploaded to the cloud, and no one will ever listen to them: instead, they are analyzed on a user’s device, then deleted.

Another new feature, Body, which makes similar promises. The feature requires users to take a full-body selfie with the app, which is analyzed in the cloud to reveal metrics such as body fat percentage before being removed and stored locally.

“Fitness is inherently personal, and taking pictures of your body is as special as getting it. That’s why Amazon Halo and Body was designed with privacy in mind,” the company says.

Rounding out the feature set is the Sleep Tracking service, which “uses movement, heart rate, and temperature to measure sleep time and wake time”.

Halo launched in the US on Friday, where customers can request early access at a discounted price of $ 64.99, including six months of Halo subscription service.

 

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