Amazon’s Halo Judges Your Stress by Listening to Your Voice
You’re stressed, and Halo may know it.
Halo is a new Amazon service the company says can judge how stressed you are, in part by the tone of your voice. The service uses a wristband that connects to a mobile app. A small sensor in the band monitors temperature, heart rate, and body motion. It also has a pair of microphones that listen to your voice.
That voice feature is called “Tone.” Amazon says Tone combines artificial intelligence with machine learning to analyze the positivity and energy of your voice. Amazon’s blog says positivity is measured by how happy or sad you sound, and energy is how excited or tired you sound. The Amazon Halo app then turns that data into easy-to-understand summaries. For example, you might see that in the morning you sounded calm, delighted, and warm, but later when you were on the phone, you sounded stressed.
“Health is much more than just the number of steps you take in a day or how many hours you sleep,” a company press release proclaims. “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.”
Game points for healthier habits
The Halo app also monitors your activity and awards points based on the intensity and duration of your movement; running is better than walking, for example, and points are deducted for sitting too much. It tracks how long you sleep and how much time you spend in the various sleep stages. You can also use Halo to measure your body mass index.
Finally, the app offers something called “Halo Labs,” which the Amazon blog describes as “science-backed challenges, experiments, and workouts that allow customers to discover what works best for them specifically, so they can build healthier habits.”
How does Halo connect to our MS?
Stress can trigger our MS, right? Would it help to know when we’re stressed but might not realize it? Might that knowledge help to control our stress? Maybe. Lack of movement can decrease our mobility. Would something that tracks and encourages movement help us move more? Perhaps. Tracking my sleeping? What’s to track? I’m a lousy sleeper, and I know it.
“Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the U.S. We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalized wellness habits,” Maulik Majmudar, Amazon Halo’s principal medical officer, said in the press release.
Am I willing to spend a “special price” of $65 for the wristband and another $4 a month for Halo membership to improve my wellness habit? I don’t think so. But that Halo wristband comes in designer colors including “Blush,” “Winter Denim,” “Hummingbird,” “Mint Edge,” “Olive,” “Unicorn,” and “Volcano,” so, maybe I’ll give this a second thought. I hear “Volcano” is calling my name.
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