Amazon is said to be developing a voice-activated wristband that can detect a wearer’s emotional condition.
According to Bloomberg, the story is based on internal documents and a source close to the project. Alexa and the Lab126 hardware teams are leading the charge on the wellness device. It is now undergoing internal beta testing under the pseudonym “Dylan,” indicating that it has progressed beyond the concept and planning stages. It’s unclear whether the testing will involve prototype hardware, software, or both.
While fitness trackers are plentiful, emotion tracking gadgets are scarce. And certainly none from well-known clothing manufacturers. The majority are crowdfunded projects, some of which have yet to be completed. Others have been tried, but none have succeeded in gaining widespread acceptance. Sensaura, Zenta, Upmood, and SenceBand are a few examples.
The built-in microphones on Amazon’s voice-activated gadget are supposed to interact with a smartphone app. The software appears to be capable of detecting human emotions just by listening to a person’s speech tone.
Amazon could theoretically use this data to make health and other product recommendations. Surprisingly, the records suggest that the data may be used to counsel the wearer on how to better engage with others. Has technology evolved far enough to provide us with recommendations on how to improve human social interactions?
There isn’t much else to go on right now. It’s also unclear whether the project has moved past the testing stage, or when (or if) it will become a commercial product. Many corporations test prototype technologies that never see the light of day.
While the wearable may be able to count steps and other activity indicators, we suspect Amazon would enter the fitness tracker or smartwatch market. Because the market is already saturated, the business would have to play catch-up. However, a niche market like emotion tracking appears to be ripe for the picking. Especially since such capabilities may tap into Amazon’s massive product network.
So far, the Seattle-based firm has remained tight-lipped about the situation.