Amazon is working on device to 'read human emotions': report

The device will be in the category of a health and wellness product


Tech Desk May 24, 2019
Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City,US, January 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Amazon is developing a wearable voice-activated device with the ability to recognise human emotion, reported Bloomberg.

The device will be marketed in the category of health and wellness, and its development is a collaboration between the hardware development group who worked on Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker – Lab126 and the Alexa voice software team.

The device includes microphones and software that have the ability to determine the users’ emotions based on the tone of their voice and will work with a smartphone app.

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Documents also stated that the technology could, in the future, potentially gain the ability to advise the user on more effective methods of interaction with others.

A beta testing program is underway, but it is still not evident whether the trial includes prototype hardware, the emotion-detecting software or both.

Multiple companies, such as Microsoft, Google, IBM and others have been working to develop technology with the ability to discern emotional states from images, audio data and other input. Amazon has, in the past, publicly discussed its’ desire to develop a more lifelike voice assistant.

This kind of technology could assist the company in gaining insights into potential health products or be utilised to improve target advertising and product recommendations. This concept has contributed to the debate about the amount and nature of personal data accessible by tech giants, which already collect masses of information about their customers.

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In addition, Amazon has been developing a domestic robot codenamed “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of hearth, home and family, as reported by Bloomberg. The bot has been described by people familiar with the project as kind of a mobile Alexa, and its’ prototypes can navigate through homes similar to a self-driving car.

Domestic automatons are points of interest for a wide variety of companies, such as the Ford Motor

The company, which just this week announced a bipedal delivery android called Digit with arms able to carrying 40-pound loads.

This article originally appeared on Bloomberg.

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