Connect with us

Tech

Amazon’s Halo fitness tracker will measure your body fat… and tone of voice?

Published

on

Amazon's Halo fitness tracker will measure your body fat... and tone of voice?

A wristband without a screen. A service that scans your body through your camera. An always-listening voice analysis that offers guidance on emotional tone. Amazon’s entry into the fitness space is odd indeed, and ambitious. And we’re just getting our minds wrapped around it.

Amazon has entered the health and fitness world with Halo, a subscription service and accompanying fitness band that unlocks an array of health metrics, including activity, sleep, body fat and tone of voice analysis, to determine your moods and your speech. 

The band itself looks a lot like a screenless Fitbit tracker, but with a few different elements: It has temperature sensing, much like Fitbit’s newest smartwatch, the Fitbit Sense, and a microphone that continually scans a wearer’s voice to determine emotional tone. Yes, it’s a lot to take in. And the service is immediately available for early access. We haven’t even had a chance to try it out yet. 

The membership part will start at $65 for the first six months ($100 once the early access deal is over) and then $3.99 a month after that. (International prices aren’t currently available, but $65 converts to about £50 or AU$90.) The subscription to Halo includes the basic fitness band that has one button, no screen and tracks your heart rate, steps and temperature. The lack of screen means you’ll have to rely on the mobile app to see all your data, but it does a lot more than just count your steps and log your weight. 

An always-listening, emotionally analyzing Amazon health band that also lets you scan your body fat may sound like Black Mirror incarnate, but it’s also opening up some ideas in fitness that we’ve never seen before.

See also  TikTok remains the king of apps, and Telegram is ahead of another competitor


Now playing:
Watch this:

Amazon Halo: A fitness tracker and health subscription…



2:46

Body fat analysis with a smartphone camera 

Amazon thinks the concept of weight loss is flawed, and that body fat is a much better predictor of health.

Most of us have been conditioned to obsess over our weight. The entire diet industry was built on it with programs, apps and devices that revolve around ways to lose pounds. 

But weight can fluctuate daily based on factors including humidity, medication, menstrual cycle and illness. Plus muscle is more dense than fat, and a scale can’t tell the difference between the two. You could literally work your ass off building muscle and burning fat, and not see the numbers on the scale go down.

Rather than relying on weight, Halo focuses on body fat percentage, which is less volatile and takes a lot more time and work to change. 

The gold standard in the medical world for body composition analysis is a DEXA scan (dual-energy absorptiometry), which can cost up to $100 at a lab. The Halo app does it all using your smartphone camera. Once you take your photos, the app automatically eliminates everything else in the background, calculates body fat percent based on body indicators, and then creates a 3D model of your body, which is both cool and terrifying. The app requires you to wear minimal form-fitting clothing and trust Amazon to take a picture of you wearing it. The entire process takes seconds. 

See also  OFFER RETURNED | Galaxy S20 FE goes on sale with a discount coupon
halo-app-body-feature

Amazon’s Halo app makes a 3D render of your body to analyze body fat, while the fitness band keeps tabs on sleep and activity. 


Amazon

If you’re feeling uncomfortable, that’s not surprising: The idea of body-scanning with a camera is already an awkward proposition. Amazon doing this on a health platform makes it feel more so. The sample body-scan images Amazon showed me look very personal — not necessarily something I’d ever want anyone else to see.

That’s why Amazon promises that the finished body scans stay on your phone and won’t be shared with anybody, including the company, unless you opt into that. According to Amazon, “the images are processed in the cloud, but encrypted in transit and processed within seconds, after which they’re automatically deleted from Amazon’s systems and databases. All scan images are fully deleted within 12 hours. The scan images aren’t viewed by anyone at Amazon and aren’t used for machine learning optimizations.”

Watch that tone! 

Halo also offers a Tone analysis, which has nothing to do with body tone, but rather analyzes the emotion of your voice. It also lets you know when you sound out of line, weirdly enough. 

The fitness band has two built in mics to capture audio and is listening for emotional cues. The company says it’s not intended to analyze your conversation, but rather the tone of your voice. You can opt out of this by tapping the side button and will know when the mic is off when a red LED lights up on the band. 

winter-halo-band-on-wrist-1

Otherwise, the voice scanning is happening continuously, pulling out the wearer’s voice specifically and delivering analysis with related emotional-tone words (like “happy,” or “concerned” in the Halo app). The idea, according to Amazon, is to help guide a wearer to deliver better tones of voice and speaking styles, almost a vocal form of posture. It isn’t intended as a form of psychological analysis, but it seems awfully hard to draw the line on a concept like this. 

Amazon’s been exploring the idea of emotional tone-sensing since at least 2018, but this is the first time it’s approached the idea in any device. And according to Amazon, Tone is only happening on the Halo Band for now. Tone will be limited to the Halo band’s microphone, but Amazon sounds open to exploring the idea on other devices, depending on how the early access response goes from first-wave wearers. It’s a very odd add to a fitness band, and we have no idea what this is like to use yet.

Amazon promises that Tone voice samples are encrypted and stored only on a wearer’s phone (shared via the band via Bluetooth with the encrypted key), are deleted after analysis, and won’t be shared to the cloud or used to build machine learning models.

Sleep analysis with temperature tracking

halo-app-sleep-feature

The sleep analysis includes a body temperature to detect variations that may impact sleep. 


Amazon

The app provides a comprehensive sleep analysis with a breakdown of the different stages of sleep and overall sleep score, much like other fitness trackers. It also goes beyond the basics by keeping track of your overall body temperature during sleep and creating a baseline for each person. It then charts your average temperature each night relative to your baseline to help you identify variations that could affect your health and the quality of your sleep. 

The Halo Band won’t provide a specific body temperature, similar to the way other temperature wearable devices like the Oura Ring already work.

Temperature has become a trending wearable metric in the COVID-19 era: The Oura Ring has one and Fitbit’s newest Sense watch has one too. Amazon’s Halo team is pursuing research for COVID-19 symptom detection on its wearables, much like other health wearable companies, but no specific studies or plans have been laid out yet.

Activity tracking: A week at a glance 

halo-app-activity-feature

The activity app is based on a weekly point system. 


Amazon

Halo also does basic fitness tracking based on the information from the band. It can automatically track walks and runs, but you’ll have to go into the app and tag any other workouts manually. 

It rewards you for any type of movement or activity, but gives more points for more intense workouts and subtracts points for sedentary time. And it doesn’t keep a daily tally of your activity, your score is based on the points you accrued during the entire week. The entire picture of exercise, sedentary time and active time is combined into one tally.

Amazon’s sleep and activity scores and other AI tools will require an Amazon Halo subscription; otherwise, the band will default to more basic tracking data. Much like Fitbit and its Premium service, this looks to be continuing a trend of fitness devices that expect a subscription model as part of the package.

A lot of labs and partners, but no Google or Apple integration

A Labs section of Amazon Halo looks similar to what’s on Fitbit’s Premium service, with a lot of multiweek health and fitness goals to opt into, and partners lined up from OrangeTheory to Weight Watchers. Amazon promises these challenges are scientifically vetted, but it also sounds like these challenges will keep being added to over time. 

But at least at launch, Halo will not tie in to Apple’s HealthKit or Google’s Fit App which puts it at a disadvantage with people who are already deeply invested in either for health tracking. Amazon is leaning on Weight Watchers, John Hancock Vitality wellness program, and a few others that will be able to hook into Amazon Halo health data.

The looming privacy question

There’s a lot of process in terms of features, and while some seem interesting and innovative, the biggest barrier to entry is privacy. Sharing any kind of health data (let alone unflattering seminudes) requires next-level trust, and you might not be prepared to give Amazon that trust. The company doesn’t exactly have the most pristine track record when it comes to keeping user data private. Alexa-enabled devices have been in the hot seat for storing private conversations “for machine learning purposes.” And Amazon’s Ring doorbell has had a series of privacy dust-ups. 

Halo puts privacy in your hands by allowing you to opt out of data sharing with Amazon and third-party apps as well as disable the microphone on the band, but it’s still going to be an uphill battle. That is unless its features prove to be earth-shattering and worth the privacy risk, which remains to be seen.

Amazon is late on arrival

The lack of connection to Apple or Google is telling. Amazon’s making a play in the health and fitness data space, and with Google, Fitbit and Apple already deep in, it’s a big question as to how Amazon will make waves. Or, where Amazon Halo will go next. It’s a platform as much as a wearable, and it sounds like Halo’s early-access experiment may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Apple releases an update that will “save” your iPhone

Published

on

Not so long ago, Apple released the iOS 16 update for older iPhone models, at the same time that the new iPhone 14s were released. However, as we are used to, the first versions of the new iOS always cause some problems.

A few hours after the arrival of this update, many users have already complained about various problems. Among the most serious are severe camera shake on the iPhone 14 Pro and Max, as well as difficulties with recognizing touches on the screen of some models.

In the case of newer iPhones, the problem with their rear camera appeared whenever they used a non-genuine Apple app. In terms of screen issues, iPhone X, XR, and 11 users have reported them, but only on devices that have had their screen replaced.

iOS 16.0.2 has been released to fix all the problems that have been wrecking the iPhone.

There were a lot of users who got desperate because of the many problems that the update brought to their smartphones, so it’s no surprise that Apple wasted no time in releasing a new update. This update came in the form of iOS 16.0.2, essentially fixing every known issue, big and small.

While the issues with the rear camera and touch screen response were clearly the biggest ones, they weren’t the only ones. Many users have also reported issues with copy/paste, VoiceOver, and even screen brightness levels during device setup.

Issues fixed by iOS 16.0.2 update on various iPhones

  • The rear camera on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max had strong unexplained vibrations when using third-party apps.
  • The screen of the smartphone was completely dark during the setup process
  • Copying and pasting text between applications resulted in endless authorization requests, making it impossible to use
  • The VoiceOver feature was unavailable after restarting the device.
  • iPhone X, XR, and 11 screens are now responsive to touch even after panel replacement.
See also  You can now play Steam PC games on Xbox via GeForce Now

Keep up to date with all the latest technology news on TecheNet via Telegram or whatsapp. All news in real time and without delay!

Other interesting articles:

Continue Reading

Tech

James Webb captures the sharpest image of Neptune’s rings in decades!

Published

on

James Webb captures the sharpest image of Neptune's rings in decades!
James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s first space science observatory.

The most impressive thing about the new Image captured by Webb is a clear image of Neptune’s rings – some of which have not been discovered since Voyager 2 as well as NASA became the first spacecraft to observe Neptune during its flight in 1989.. In addition to several bright, narrow rings, the Webb image clearly shows Neptune’s faintest dust lanes.

“It’s been three decades since we last saw those dull dusty rings and this is the first time we see them in infrared“, notes Heidi Hummel, Neptune systems expert and Webb multidisciplinary scientist. The extremely stable and accurate quality of the Webb image makes it possible to detect these very faint rings so close to Neptune..

Neptune

Neptune has fascinated explorers since its discovery in 1846.. Located 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth, Neptune orbits in a distant, dark region of the outer solar system. At this far distance, the Sun is so small and dim that noon on Neptune is like a dark twilight on Earth.

this is planet characterized as an ice giant due to the chemical composition of its innards. Compared to the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune is much richer in heavier elements than hydrogen and helium. This is immediately visible in The blue signature of Neptune in visible wavelength images from the Hubble Space Telescope, caused by a small amount of methane gas..

See also  (Review) Samsung Galaxy A33 5G: Real Mid-Range?

images de Webb Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) are objects in the near infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns, so Neptune doesn’t look blue to Webb. Actually, methane gas absorbs red and infrared light so strongly that the planet is quite dark at those wavelengths in the near infrared range, except when there are clouds at high altitude.

Such clouds of methane ice are visible as streaks and bright spots that reflect sunlight before being absorbed by methane gas.. Images of other observatories, including Hubble Space Telescope this is W. M. Keck Observatoryhave recorded these rapidly changing cloud characteristics over the years.

Pictures taken by the James Webb Space Telescope

What’s more, the thin glowing line around the planet’s equator could be a visual sign of the global atmospheric circulation that powers Neptune’s winds and storms. The atmosphere sinks and heats up at the equator, so it glows brighter in the infrared than the surrounding cooler gases..

neptune rings
Image of Neptune’s rings taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

Neptune’s 164-year orbit means its north pole at the top of the image above is out of astronomers’ view. but Webb’s images suggest an intriguing brightness in this area.. From Webb’s point of view, the previously known vortex at the South Pole is obvious, but Webb first discovered a continuous band of high-latitude clouds around him..

[O telescópio espacial] James Webb continues to amaze with his discoveries. This time it gave us a wider and clearer view of Neptune.

Webb will unravel the mysteries of our solar system, look beyond distant worlds around other stars. and penetrate the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA and its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and Canadian Space Agency.

See also  Never-before-seen meteor showers could light up Utah skies on Monday

Continue Reading

Tech

A drop of water on an asteroid? Japanese probe finds footprints in asteroid dust – Observer

Published

on

A drop of water on an asteroid?  Japanese probe finds footprints in asteroid dust - Observer

The story began 8 years ago. Japan sent a probe into space in 2014 Hayabusa-2. Target? Examine the asteroid Ryugu. The plan was fulfilled, the sampling was carried out, and two years ago the space probe again entered the Earth’s orbit. At that moment, a capsule was launched with samples collected in Ryugu and which had been the object of analysis and study for many years.

Now the latest study, published in the journal Science, reveals a surprising fact: 5.4 grams of rocks and dust collected from the asteroid contained a drop of water.

“That drop of water has a lot of meaning.” During the press conference, leading scientist Tomoki Nakamura made no secret of his delight at the discovery. According to a University of Tokyo researcher, this drop of water could change our view of the origin of life. “Many scientists believe that water was brought from space, but we first detected water on Ryugu, a near-Earth asteroid.”

The drop, Nakamura explained, “was carbonated water containing salt and organics.” This is an argument in favor of those who defend the hypothesis that during collisions asteroids could bring water to Earth, with salt and organics, added the scientist, who leads a team of 150 people of different nationalities.

THE PUB • CONTINUE TO READ BELOW

“We found evidence that this could be directly related, for example, to the origin of the oceans or organic matter on Earth,” Nakamura concluded.

According to Nikkei Asia, a drop of water was found in a ferrous sulfate crystal carving and is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old. Ryugu patterns will continue to be studied.

See also  (Review) Samsung Galaxy A33 5G: Real Mid-Range?

Continue Reading

Trending