Amazon is reportedly trying to enter the wearable market with a device that can detect human emotions.
First reported by Bloomberg, the wrist-worn gadget is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents reviewed by the media. It’s a partnership between Lab126, the hardware development group behind Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice software team.
The wrist-worn device is “designed to work with a smartphone app. It has microphones paired with software that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice, according to the documents and a person familiar with the program. Eventually the technology could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others, the documents show,” Bloomberg reports.
Amazon didn’t provide any details on the progress of the project, or if it will be available commercially. The online retail giant code-named the project ‘Dylan.’ According to documents and Bloomberg’s source, the project is ongoing and a beta testing is underway.
The idea of making devices that can understand human emotions first appeared in science fiction novels and Star Trek. With the advancement in artificial intelligence, image and voice recognition is now a reality. Big tech companies like Apple, IBM and Google are developing technologies that can derive emotional states of people from audio data, images and other inputs. Amazon has publicly said it wants to build a more lifelike voice assistant.
While this device may be the first wearable device from Amazon, if it becomes successful in tracking human emotions, it might roll out to other Amazon products, especially the ones that rely on microphone. Then again, Amazon’s wearable may never see the light of day. The company regularly experiments with new products.