Amazon announced early access for customers in the US to its first health gadget, Amazon Halo, a combination of an app and band, that claims to recognise emotion in a user’s voice using machine learning, and calculate body fat percentage using machine learning and computer vision. All health data is encrypted in transit and in cloud, and can be deleted by the user at any time. When it is stored on the phone, it uses the phone’s “full disc encryption”. It is currently available for a reduced price $64.99 in the US against a list price of $99.99. During this early access period, users will also get 6 months of Halo membership that will renew automatically for $3.99/month after the first 6 months. Non-members have access to only basic features such as step count, sleep time, and heart rate. What data do the app and the band collect? The Halo Band measures: skin temperature, motion, heart rate. The app collects information about: fitness metrics, body fat composition, demographic data, sleep, tone of voice. Apart from this, the Halo service, as a combination of the Band and app collects data on how users use the service through metrics such as: if the band is on the wrist, plugged into a charger, how often particular pages are opened in the app, feature usage, etc. How does the voice-based emotion recognition work? Amazon calls its voice-based emotion recognition system Tone. It uses “machine learning (ML) to analyze the positivity and energy of your…
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