Amazon’s Halo Judges Your Stress by Listening to Your Voice

Amazon’s Halo Judges Your Stress by Listening to Your Voice
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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.

Halo app and band
Amazon’s Halo app and band. (Courtesy of Amazon)


“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.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.

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 Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider w ith any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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