Amazon reportedly developing a wearable device that can detect emotions

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Amazon is developing a voice-activated wearable device capable of understanding human emotions, according to Bloomberg.

The e-commerce giant’s hardware development group Lab 126 and software team is collaborating on the project. It is a health and wellness wrist-worn product based on the description in the documents reviewed by the media outlet.

The documents and a person familiar with the program told Bloomberg that the device works with a smartphone app and is equipped with microphones and software that can detect a person’s emotional state from his or her voice. The technology will ultimately be able to give suggestion to the user how to interact better with others.

Additionally, the person said the code name of the project is Dylan, which is undergoing a beta testing program. He is uncertain if the testing includes only the prototype hardware, just the emotion-detecting software or both.

Amazon is taking another big step in the health sector

The project is a sign that Amazon is taking another big step into the health sector. In June last year, the e-commerce giant acquired PillPack,  an online pharmacy dedicated to providing the best possible experience for people taking multiple medicines daily.

At the time of the acquisition, Jeff Wilke, CEO for Worldwide Consumer at Amazon noted that PillPack is also focused on technology and they are “excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”

Amazon’s emotion-detecting software could be very lucrative as the e-commerce giant will gain insights to develop new health products. The e-commerce giant can also use the software to provide better target advertising or product recommendations to consumers.

A 2017 patent application indicates that the e-commerce giant’s system has voice software that analyzes vocal patterns to detect how a user is feeling. The software will determine whether the person is feeling anger, boredom, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, sorrow, stress and other emotions. The technology can also detect abnormal emotional condition based on the diagram in the patent filing.

The diagram shows a sniffling woman telling Amazon’s digital assistant that she’s hungry, the software determined she has a cold and asks the woman if she likes a recipe for a chicken soup.

Amazon has another patent for a system capable of distinguishing a user’s voice from background noises. The e-commerce giant intends put this technology into its wearable device, according to the media outlet.

Bloomberg said its source requested anonymity and Amazon declined comment.