With Amazon’s humble bookseller beginnings far in the rearview mirror, the internet retail giant is working on a wrist-worn, voice-activated device that supposedly can read human emotions.
Bloomberg reported a source reviewed internal Amazon documents that show the Alexa voice software team and Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division are collaborating on the device.
In coordination with a smartphone app, it will have microphones that can “discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice.”
Bloomberg reported that “eventually the technology could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others.”
Lab126 produced the Kindle, Fire Phone and Echo speaker, which was the first voice-activated Alexa application.
The group also is developing a home robot.
Bloomberg said it’s not clear how much progress Amazon has made on the project or whether it will become a commercial product. The company gives teams wide latitude to experiment with products
Microsoft, Google and IBM are among the other companies developing technologies designed to derive emotional states from images, audio data and other inputs, Bloomberg said.
Possible uses could be health products or to help target advertising or product recommendations.
Bloomberg previously reported privacy concerns raised by an Amazon team that listens to and annotates audio clips captured by the company’s Echo voice-activated speakers.