29 May 2019
Amazon is reportedly creating a voice-activated wearable device that could recognize human emotions. The wearable could be worn around the wrist and will be health and wellness product developed in a collaboration between Lab126 and the Alexa software team.
According to a report obtained by Bloomberg and a source familiar with the matter, the wearable will come with microphones that can understand a person's emotional state from the sound of their voice. The documents also reveal that the technology could eventually assist the wearer even in interacting more effectively with others. The project code-named Dylan is currently under beta testing and it remains to be seen whether it will ever become a commercial device.
An Amazon spokesperson has stated that the tech giant "does not comment on rumours or speculation."
A U.S. patent filed in 2017 that was made public last year, which shows a voice software that uses analysis of vocal patterns to understand how a person is feeling. It can understand a number of emotions including joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, and disgust. The filing states that technology can detect any abnormal emotional condition. An example shows sniffling woman telling Alexa she’s hungry, and the voice assistant responds if she would like a recipe for chicken soup.
Apart from Amazon, other tech companies are also pursuing the possibilities for health and wellness with wearable devices. The Apple Watch has the ability to detect irregular heartbeats. Amazon is also working on a home robot called "Vesta," which is rumoured to be a movable machine version of Alexa. It is also working on Alexa-powered earphones which will reportedly compete with Apple AirPods.